Ruth Negga Stirs Oscar Buzz With New Film 'Loving'
Ruth Negga's captivating performance in the new historical drama film "Loving" has Hollywood buzzing.
The film is based on the true story of real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought to invalidate laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the 1960s. Negga was recently a guest on ABC's "Popcorn With Peter Travers" show, in which she talked about her approach to playing Mildred.
"I think what we want to do with our film is share Mildred and Richardís story. Because I think that we want to honor and celebrate them as a couple and as individuals for struggling for nine years to contribute to the American civil rights cannon," said Negga.
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Negga explained that those laws extended well beyond blocking interracial marriage, saying that they were much more encompassing.
"The law was effectively entering peopleís bedrooms, people's sacred intimate spaces and dictating what they should and shouldnít do. And I find it extraordinary that thatís still going on," Negga said. "No one has the right to legislate who you want to love. No one has the right to say whatís legitimate and what isnít in your life, I donít think, in terms of who you fall in love with. And many people didnít know that this was happening."
For that reason, many people may be surprised at how the story plays out in the film. Mildred Loving wrote a letter to Bobby Kennedy, and he referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union and they took on her case.
"You know what I think, sometimes itís good to be shocked," Negga, 34, told Peter Travers. "Itís good to be sort of agitated out of complacency. And I think a lot of people feel that after they come out of this film. But that also goes with being hand in hand because this couple really had a genuine love and respect for one another."
While Negga's TV fans may be familiar with her work on the hit ABC series "Agents of Shield" and HBO's newcomer "Preacher," it's the portrayal of Mildred Loving that is thrusting Negga more into the spotlight, with early rumblings of a possible Oscar nomination. Travers asked if the rumblings were validating.
"Oh yeah, hugely. Itís the Oscars. I mean thatís completely intimidating," said Negga. "But it's lovely because it means people are seeing the film and theyíre reacting to it. And itís resonating with them. And that means that weíve all done our job. So itís thrilling. And it means that more people will know about this couple. I genuinely mean that is very important for all of us. To me, movies encourage a shift in consciousness. And ours seems to be having that response."
Watch the full interview with Ruth Negga on ABC News' "Popcorn With Peter Travers" above.
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