“The love that they had is the important part of this film,” declares “Loving” key hair stylist Kenneth Walker during our recent webcam chat (watch above), “and it speaks for itself.” Directed by Jeff Nichols, this Focus Features release tells the true story 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.
Walker and makeup department head Julia Lallas were tasked with turning two recognizable movie stars into the plainspoken couple first made famous in Nancy Buirski‘s 2011 HBO documentary “The Loving Story” (Buirski serves as a producer on this film). Lallas explains that she tried to make Edgerton, “look a little older, weather his skin a little bit because he was out in the sun working, so Richard had a bit of sun damage.” With Negga, on the other hand, “Mildred didn’t wear makeup, so we kept her really clean and natural, and we just tried to match her skin tone.”
Walker, meanwhile, tried to convey Negga’s character arc through her hairstyles. “Just recreating Mildred was a joy,” says Walker, “because there’s a period in Richmond where she’s a country girl, and pretty much natural and living that life.” After moving to D.C. to avoid jail, “she kind of cleaned her act up a little bit. She took care of herself more.” He adds, “there’s so many sides of Ruth, that you realize she’s the strength in this film. She’s that woman that speaks her mind, and says what she has to say.”
Lallas previously worked on Nichols’ “Take Shelter” (2011), as well as such diverse titles as “Enchanted” (2007) and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (2011). Walker’s work can be seen in several high-profile films, including “Philadelphia” (1993), “Munich” (2005), and “American Gangster” (2007). Check out our full interview above for more about their work on “Loving.”
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