“What really struck all of us was the love they had for one another,” reveals Ruth Negga during our recent video chat (watch above) when talking about the real life subjects of her new film “Loving.” “It’s almost tangible,” she adds, “the energy between the two.” Negga stars as Mildred Loving in this Focus Features release, one half of an interracial couple who faced imprisonment in 1958 Virginia after getting married. After she and her husband, Richard (Joel Edgerton), are forced to leave their hometown for D.C., they decided to take their case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, leading to a landmark decision that ended anti-miscegenation laws.
“They weren’t used to the limelight,” explains Negga of the couple, who suddenly found themselves forced into the spotlight as a result of their crusade. While Richard, “was the more reticent of the two,” Mildred, “took on the mantle of being the spokesperson.” While it would’ve certainly been easier to give up and lead a quiet life up North, “she wanted to raise her family where she was raised, and that hope was her motivating factor.”
The actress credits Nancy Buirski‘s 2011 HBO documentary “The Loving Story” for, “bringing this couple into the light, because really, there was not much attention given to them after the ruling in ’67.” (Buirski serves as a producer on this film) She used the archival footage as a guide for her performance, and found that the real Richard and Mildred, “radiated goodness, and human-ness, and beauty, something that I don’t think you find too often.”
While known for smaller roles in such films as “World War Z” (2013) and “Warcraft” (2016) and a recurring role on TV’s “Preacher” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Loving” represents a breakthrough for Negga. Both she and Edgerton recently received Gotham nominations in the lead actor and actress categories. Will Oscar bids be next? Check out our full interview above for more about the film.
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