Actor Joel Edgerton didn’t have to pretend to fall for Ruth Negga’s character in their inter-racial drama Loving – he became a big admirer of Mildred Loving.
The Australian actor knew nothing about Mildred and her real-life husband Richard, who defied mixed marriage laws in Virginia in the late 1960s, but he quickly became a big fan as he researched the couple’s civil rights battle.
“I started to watch Ruth inhabit the character and I fell in love with the character,” he tells WENN. “I fell in love with the person in the documentary (The Loving Story). In my mind, I thought if I were Richard I’d fall in love with that woman too.
“Then along comes Ruth and she kind of pretty much embodies that person.”
The two stars bonded while visiting notable sites in Richmond, Virginia, checking out the courthouse where the couple fought for its rights and the cemetery where Mildred and Richard were laid to rest.
“It just drew us closer to what feels like a long time ago and it’s not,” Joel added, “and made it a reality that they were there in the ground.
“I came back towards the car and I turned around to see what Ruth was doing and she’s just standing there probably imagining the importance of this woman’s story. In that moment, it just took the level of privilege of telling this story up to a different level of most movies.”
Loving has quickly become a critical darling and top critics are tipping the film and its stars for Oscar nominations. Just a beautiful story in the end