During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Loving” production designer Chad Keith reveals that his work on the Focus Features release was rooted in the characters. “They’re extremely simple people,” he says of Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who in 1958 are sentenced to prison in Virginia after they are married, leading to a landmark Supreme Court case that ended anti-miscegenation laws. “We wanted to keep it that way, and make their backgrounds and environments simple, and let the focus be about them.”
From the beginning, Keith used Nancy Buirski‘s 2011 HBO documentary “The Loving Story” as a guide to recreating the period. Because Buirski served as a producer on this Jeff Nichols helmed dramatization, he had access to, “extra footage and photography that sort of laid out a blueprint of what their life was like.”
Cinematographer Adam Stone similarly wanted his work to be, “very simple, but very detail oriented,” explaining, “doing a film that doesn’t seem forced” really “puts the acting in the foreground, while all the other stuff that we do with camera-movement and all that” is “in the background.” He did, however, indulge in some classic Hollywood imagery, explaining that Nichols’ script leant itself to “shooting in the beautiful time of year, shooting golden hour, shooting exteriors.”
Stone has worked with Nichols on every one of his films, beginning with “Shotgun Stories” (2007). Keith designed “Take Shelter” (2011) and “Midnight Special” (2016). “We have fun doing what we do for sure,” says Stone of their tight-knit crew. Check out our full interview above for more about their work on “Loving,” which could earn them their first Oscar nominations.
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