“The thing people didn’t like about Richard and Mildred was that they existed,” said director Jeff Nichols about Richard and Mildred Loving, the real-life civil rights pioneers at the center of his new film “Loving.” “How do you argue against someone saying you shouldn’t exist? Well, their argument was to continue living.” Nichols was in New York City on October 27 for a special lunch celebrating the film. Watch Nichols above, and follow the links below to see the film’s stars Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton and Nick Kroll discuss their roles.
The Lovings (played by Negga and Edgerton) were an interracial couple persecuted and exiled by the state of Virginia in the 1950s and 1960s simply for getting married. They fought all the way to the Supreme Court, which struck down laws against interracial marriage across the United States and even set the stage for the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
But the Lovings themselves were shy and reserved — they didn’t even go to the oral arguments for their case at the Supreme Court, so Nichols focused more on the lives of the couple than on the legal drama that surrounded them. Nichols explained, “The fate of their lives was being dictated by a system they did not understand and were not a part of … So it made sense to me to tell a story that was very much about the details of them living — this beautiful life they were trying to create together, this beautiful family, these beautiful children, this home they were trying to create.”
Watch more “Loving” videos below:
Ruth Negga on her personal connection to the Lovings’ story: “Because I’m a mixed race person — my mom is white Irish and my father is black Ethiopian — it directly affects me … And I think that legacy is felt — it was felt by me on the playground — so it is dear to my heart.”
Joel Edgerton on being able to relate to the Lovings: “We can identify with people who are placed into the middle unwillingly. You can see how shy they were, how reticent they were to talk or be filmed, and yet they were also unwilling to move backwards.”
Nick Kroll on how real change comes about: “To me it’s how change is actually exacted, which is people in their day-to-day life and the choices they make personally, and how courageous they are to make those choices.”
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