During our recent video chat (watch above), Joel Edgerton admitted that prior to being offered the lead role in “Loving,” he was unaware of the remarkable true story behind it. “The big revolutionaries that kick the door down the loudest become the pin-up figures,” he explains. “The quiet people like Richard and Mildred don’t.” Edgerton stars as Richard Loving in this Focus Features release, one half of an interracial couple who faced imprisonment in 1958 Virginia after getting married. He and his wife, Mildred (Ruth Negga), take their case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, leading to a landmark decision that ended anti-miscegenation laws.
The actor looked to Nancy Buirski‘s HBO documentary “The Loving Story” (2011) to draw on his character. Because Buirski acted as a producer on this dramatization, Edgerton and Negga had access to a treasure trove of unused material, including, “simple things like Richard playing games with the kids and mowing the lawn, doing chores around the house.” Yet the real question was, “what was he like when the cameras weren’t rolling?”
What he found was that Richard, “was so frustrated by the situation. He so wished it would go away.” Despite his anger, there was also, “a complete conviction to constantly be led and agree with anything that Mildred wanted in that beautiful support-dance that a relationship is. He was really kind of buoyed by her, I think.”
While known for acting in films such as “Warrior,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” and “Black Mass,” Edgerton was nominated for the inaugural First-Time Feature Film Director prize at last year’s DGA Awards (he lost to Alex Garland for “Ex-Machina”). Will he be able to snag his first Oscar nom for Best Actor this year? Check out our full interview above for more about the making of “Loving.”
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