Monday, July 30, 2018

Leading Lady Parts (2018)

July 30, 2018: 

Tom Hiddleston joined forces with Gemma Arterton, Catherine Tate, Gemma Chan, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Felicity Jones, Stacy Martin, Florence Pugh, Katie Leung, Wunmi Mosaku, and Anthony Welsh in the short film Leading Lady Parts that aired on BBC4. This film - inspired by Time's Up Now - aims to shine a light on the portrayal of women in the media and the challenges women face in the workplace across all industries. The film was produced by Rebel Park Productions which was co-founded by Gemma Arterton, Jessica Parker, and Jessica Malik with the purpose of creating more opportunities for women in film and television. Tom appears at the very end of the short to audition for the "Leading Lady part" and immediately gets hired. This video is a tongue-in-cheek look at the challenges women face (but of course men can also be subjected to harassment and discrimination).

"I personally have heard things like 'Could you lose a little bit of weight?'. I remember once getting into an audition and the casting director saying 'Don't wear that jacket. You look really hench in that.' All the actors did additional EPK interviews and it's so funny hearing their stories. Everyone talks about being told to lose weight overnight and things that are so ridiculous. But since #MeToo and Time's Up, I think people are way more aware in casting situations of what they can and can't say. And it's not just women, by the way. Men get it worse to some extent. I remember Tom saying he's been told to just take off his shirt. It's so ridiculous in a job interview to be told 'Can you take your clothes off?' that's what it's such a great comic subject, because it's so ridiculous." - Gemma Arterton

Several iconic roles were also re-imagined with Tom as the female lead. 

Felicity Jones gave an interview on how the inspiration behind Leading Lady Parts was to deliver the message of Time's Up in a humorous way. There are also interviews with Emilia Clarke, Gemma Chan, Gemma Arterton, and Wunmi Mosaku where they discuss other challenges they have faced such as being asked to lose weight or turned away from roles because of their race. 

A common theme in each of their interviews is the fact they've only worked with a small number of female directors. Ironically, the person in this cast with the most female director experience is a man. Tom Hiddleston's career has been shaped by women since the beginning when he was discovered by Lorraine Hamilton while still a student at Cambridge. Some of the biggest milestones in his career were led by women: Joanna Hogg (Archipelago, Unrelated, Exhibition), Thea Sharrock (Henry V), Josie Rourke (Coriolanus), and Susanne Bier (The Night Manager). Tom Hiddleston was also directed by Minjander Virk (Out of Darkness), Peggy Holmes (The Pirate Fairy), and there were two female directors for Season 2 of Wallander (Hettie MacDonald and Aisling Walsh). 

Tom listed Joanna Hogg as the person who inspires him: We need more Joanna Hoggs in this world. 

Tom Hiddleston also gave an interview where he talks about the importance of listening to the Time's Up and Me Too movements: I had so much admiration for everyone who's come forward and spoken up, and the movement of Time's Up and Me Too. I wanted to find a way to help but I was very conscious of it not being necessarily my story. First thing I felt that it was important to do very actively was to listen, to read, to hear so that women could tell their stories and begin to talk about how we might change the environment... (Tom also says that he's worked with 5 female directors but as you can see above his real total is actually much higher)

The Leading Ladies Parts project urges people to donate to the Justice and Equity Fund. In February 2018, Tom Hiddleston was one of the first supporters donating £10,000 to this fund which aims to challenge the sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination that persists across all industries and sections of society

Tom has a long history of supporting causes related to women and equality. In 2014, he joined Emma Watson and UN Women's #HeForShe Campaign for the advancement of gender equality. 

Also, in 2014 Tom Hiddleston appeared in Elle Magazine's #ElleFeminism photo series, and told Elle

"I believe in the strength and intelligence and sensitivity of women." 

In 2015, Tom and Jessica Chastain were asked about the wage gap between men and women. Tom said, "I truly think it's an anathema to reason and reasonable thought. It should've been done a long time ago."  

In 2016, Tom presented at the Women in Film and TV Awards. At the time he said, "so may I just say, equal pay? Let's sort it out!". 

In 2017, Tom wore a ribbon marking International Women's Day to the premiere of Kong: Skull Island in Los Angeles. 


Rebel Park Productions
Elle UK

Friday, July 27, 2018

Performing at Nell's Jazz and Blues (2018)

July 26, 2018: 

Tom Hiddleston made a surprise appearance during Rodney Crowell's concert at Nell's Jazz and Blues in London. Rodney served as executive music producer on the film, I Saw the Light, where Tom played country music legend Hank Williams. They got the band back to together on stage to perform Williams' hit song Move It On Over

Rodney Crowell's set was also supported by Joe Robinson and Eamon McLoughlin, along with opener Jessica Sweetener. 

Afterwards author Kathy Lette posted about the show: my new discovery - Aussie guitar wonder Joe Robinson who set the stage on fire with the legendary Rodney Crowell tonight. The icing on the pleasure pie was Tom Hiddleston leaping up to joining the boys for a duet. 

Rodney posted this picture of him and Tom on his instagramSometimes in London movie stars jump up on stage and sing Hank Williams songs. @twhiddleston

In another twist of fate Tom wore a very similar look while rehearsing for I Saw the Light with Rodney in 2014 - he just needs a hat! 


Yee-haw imo Tom Hiddleston's looks much more like a country music star now with his long hair and beard than when he played Hank Williams! It's very difficult to make out what Tom is wearing based on the lighting in the area. It's possible he's wearing his pale blue button up (it's definitely an old shirt) but I will need better images to determine that. Tom is also wearing his Mykita Mylon Triton glasses and J Brand jeans ($270). 


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I Saw the Light: Becoming Hank (2016)

I Saw the Light

In I Saw the Light Tom Hiddleston plays the talented, but troubled, country music legend Hank Williams. Tom underwent a full transformation to adapt Williams' gaunt frame, accent, and singing style. The costume department, led by Lahly Poore-Ericson also had a tremendous task of recreating the iconic outfits that Hank Williams wore throughout his all too short career. For research Lahly viewed the original costumes Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame, read "Hank Williams: the Biography" and teamed up with the descendants of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors who created the original outfits (known as Nudie Suits).

Hank's most famous Nudie Suit was the Music Note: The beautiful suit was designed by Nudie, the West Coast tailor who supplied many country stars with custom stagewear. The cream-colored suit features blue musical notes in eye-catching relief. The back shoulder area includes a guitar, an image previously unseen in published photos of Williams. “It’s probably the most famous suit in country music history,”. Here's a look at Hank Williams wearing the suit and it on display along with the replica that was created for Tom Hiddleston to wear in the film. 

A crucial moment in Hank Williams' career was when he made his Grand Ole Opry debut performing Lovesick Blues. Hank was called back out for six encores. Tom Hiddleston was just as electrifying in the scene filmed for the movie! 

Another iconic recreation for the film was Hank Williams' fringed Nudie Suit. Tom Hiddleston wears the suit to perform Hey Good Lookin'. 


A common theme in many of Hank's suits was the Frankenstein Stitching because of the extra-large lacing on the jacket and cuffs. Lahly Moore-Ericson embraced this style for the Luke the Drifter performance. 

Less than three months before his death, Hank Williams married Billie Jean Jones during a lavish ceremony in Louisiana. They had a private ceremony, as well as two additional wedding ceremonies open to the public. Here's a look at archive pictures from the wedding versus the wedding staged in the film. 

Marc Abraham and Tom Hiddleston talking about the costumes in an interview with Cinemacy

As much as Hank Williams and his music are a part of Americana history, so are the clothes. How important were the costumes and their authenticity to the film?
MA: What we tried to do with Elizabeth and Tom, and this was really important to me in the movie, is that these people weren’t the same people when they were not on stage. When we didn’t see Audrey or Tom on stage, we saw them how they normally dressed, and that they weren’t a bunch of hillbillies. They were real people who didn’t wear a ton of different clothes. Hank always had a hat on, Audrey had a good sense of style. The subtlety of if was really important. So, yes, those costumes that we put on stage were really important to get completely right, but when they were offstage in their real lives, it was just as important that they weren’t always dressed up.
TH: When you put those costumes on you just feel different. It’s just like what Marc was talking about- the difference between the public persona of the performer and the private identity of the man.

As Marc mentions above, Hank Williams was rarely pictured without a hat. The production team commissioned Mike Moore of Buckaroo Hatters to for the huge task of recreating them. The hats were separated into two main categories: Fedora style hats (2 5/8" wide brims) and Western style hats (3 3/4" wide brims).   

Tom Hiddleston's commitment to being authentic to the role included him wearing his fedora hat 24/7 in the month leading up to filming so it would have that lived-in look. He even wore the hat during grueling seven mile runs! Below Tom is pictured during pre-production wearing his hat with the Buckaroo Hatters team and the film's executive music producer Rodney Crowell who helped shape Tom's vocals. 

Overall Buckaroo Hatters created more than 300 hats for the film and the promotional tour. The hats were used in contests and also given away to reporters/critics. Below Tom Hiddleston appears on the Today Show.


Costume Designer's Guild
Sony Classics
Hank Williams Museum
Buckaroo Hatters
The Fedora Lounge