Search form

Scroll To Top

Loving Actors Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga Talk How One Couple’s Love Can Make History

Loving Actors Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga Talk How One Couple’s Love Can Make History

Loving Ruth Negga Joel Edgerton
Beth Rothstein/Focus Features

We caught up with the actors at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the new film about interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving made its North American debut.  

Joel Edgerton, who stars in the film Loving, admires the quiet determination of his character.

"They're just regular folk," he told Out. "There's a lot of different kinds of advocates for change--revolutionary figures, activists. But there's a real dignity and strength to the Lovings. They were never willing to be cast in the spotlight, and yet all of the oppression never knocked them over."

The film from director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter) follows the marriage of Richard (Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) Loving, an interracial couple in Virginia during the civil rights movement.

After their marriage, the Lovings were arrested for breaking Virginia's anti-miscegenation law, exiled from the state, and fought their conviction in a decade-long legal battle. In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ruled in their favor and struck down all anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S.

Edgerton and Negga spoke to reporters last weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Loving made its North American premiere.

"The Lovings were ordinary, and they accomplished something extraordinary," Negga said. "They were not banner people--there were not poster children. And people respond to this film because they respond to their humanity."

Loving v. Virginia was the cornerstone court case not just for interracial marriage, but also same-sex marriage. Edgerton and Negga both see the struggle the Lovings faced being repeated today for LGBT couples.

Edgerton, who is from Australia, talked about how "incredibly embarrassed" he was of his country's delay in legalizing same-sex marriage--opting instead to hold an expensive, nationwide opinion poll on the issue.

"This film says, at the end of the day, goodness triumphs," he said. "The Lovings' purity and peacefulness culminated in this triumphant change. But it's amazing how slow that change was, though."

Negga talked about how, for both the Lovings and for same-sex couples in the U.S., opponents tried to use their families against them.

"That's what truly disgusted Richard and Mildred," she said, "that their children would be used against them. As a child, that's the one thing you don't want to be is singled out for being different. And that's what these judges tried to do."

The actors both agreed that Richard and Mildred were strongest when they were together--and, more than any historical research, that strength became the source for their acting.

"I think Joel is as much responsible for my Mildred as I am his Richard," Negga said. "We were vulnerable to each other. We minded each other, and it created something beautiful."

The bond the Lovings shared made them the couple that inspired a nation to change.

"It was Richard, and it was Mildred, but it was also Richard-and-Midlred," Edgerton said. "The beauty of their love story was how cooperative they were--who leads, who follows--that dance between couples that gets them through their struggles. That's why we had so much reverence for their story."

Loving premieres in New York, Los Angeles, and select cities Nov. 4.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Michael Lambert