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Ruth Negga on the power of filming ‘Loving’ where the historical events took place

Actress Ruth Negga talks about the feeling and energy of filming at the real locations where events depicted in the movie took place.

Mildred and Richard Loving are not quite household names, but that may change with Jeff Nichols’ film “Loving.” The movie stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as the interracial couple whose marriage defied the anti-miscegenation laws that were then on the books in Virginia.

Nichols, Negga and Edgerton have spoken about how the Lovings’ civil rights story is a love story, no less powerful or significant than the marches or riots covered in school textbooks about the civil rights movement. It was Mildred and Richard’s love story and actions that lead to the landmark 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia, which found anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, paving the way for other interracial (and, eventually, same-sex) marriages to be recognized. 

The film was shot in Virginia, including the jail and courthouse where the real-life Lovings were detained and tried. 

During a Q&A with the actors and director following a screening of the film, Negga discussed the experience of filming in these places where the real events took place. 

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“When you see footage of things, when you see history, it’s very distant,” said Negga. “I think to walk in their footsteps, to see the walls that they were contained in, the walls that they had to plead guilty in, it sort of brings it all so much closer. Makes everything so much more urgent and specific.”

The actress explained that the cast and crew were able to channel a very specific energy by shooting on location.

“I really think that there was a potent energy in Virginia where we were filming,” explained Negga. “I think it was very important for Jeff to film there. It was super helpful for us. We were treading in their footstep. You could feel that energy. You could feel the reverence from everybody, the cast and crew, for this place, because of this couple.” 

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Watch more clips from the Q&A below. 

Envelope Screening Series: ‘Loving’
‘Loving’ full Q&A: Jeff Nichols, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga On Now
Video: 'Loving' full Q&A: Jeff Nichols, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga
Joel Edgerton on why more people aren’t aware of the Lovings’ story On Now
Joel Edgerton on why more people aren't aware of the Lovings' story
Joel Edgerton on why ‘Loving’s’ Richard and Mildred stayed together On Now
Joel Edgerton on why 'Loving's' Richard and Mildred stayed together
‘Loving’ director Jeff Nichols shares what attracted him to the civil rights love story On Now
'Loving' director Jeff Nichols shares what attracted him to the civil rights love story
Director Jeff Nichols on the ‘Loving’ cast: ‘The first person I cast was Ruth’ On Now
Director Jeff Nichols on the 'Loving' cast: 'The first person I cast was Ruth'
Ruth Negga feels the energy while filming ‘Loving’ in places the real events occurred On Now
Ruth Negga feels the energy while filming 'Loving' in places the real events occurred

tracy.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @tracycbrown

ALSO

Ruth Negga on Mildred’s quiet defiance and how ‘the Lovings’ story isn’t over’

Review: ‘Loving’ tells the moving tale of a husband and wife who made history because their love was a crime

Oscar Watch: Make way for Denzel Washington’s ‘Fences’ in updated Oscar predictions

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