Loving: Why You Should See This Movie

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga open up about their new civil rights drama

By Marc Malkin Nov 03, 2016 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga Talk "Loving"

It's time the world knows more about Richard and Mildred Loving.

Richard, a white man, and Mildred, who was black, were arrested in 1959 in their Virginia home because interracial marriage was illegal in the state.

In the landmark case known as Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their favor in 1967 with the decision also ending to all race-based marriage restrictions in the U.S.

Director Jeff Nichols' new drama, Loving, follows Richard and Mildred's romance and legal battle. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star as the Lovings.

The quiet yet powerful film immediately earned award season buzz when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Stars Playing Real People
Focus Features

"Why didn't I know about it and why don't a lot of Americans know about such a big seismic shift in civil rights?" Edgerton (who is Australian) said when I sat down with him and Negga to talk about the film. "I suspect it's because it wasn't a situation of violence and bloodshed. We look to other events as the big flag markers for civil rights. More people should know about this and hopefully the film will do that."

Negga was familiar with the case, especially after watching Nancy Buirski's 2011 documentary, The Loving Story. "But I was taken aback by how they haven't been championed as much," she said.

Richard and Mildred never sought the spotlight. Richard died in car accident just eight years after the Supreme Court decision. Not long before Mildred's death in 2008, she spoke out in support of same-sex marriage.

Edgerton and Negga met the Lovings' daughter Peggy while making the movie.

"I thought I was meeting a friend or someone super special and I had a super connection to," Negga said

Edgerton recalled, "When I first met her because we'd gone to so much trouble to embody these characters and the look of them she actually called me 'daddy.' She said something that was interesting—the film has such a cloud of oppression, which is such an engine to the movie, but she reminded us too how much laughter and joy and happiness was there because the foundation of the whole story is love."

Loving is in theaters tomorrow.