THR profiles ‘Loving’: ‘It did strike me how 50 years is really not that long ago’

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One of the awards-baity films I’m most looking forward to seeing this year is Loving, the true story of the couple behind the landmark SCOTUS case Loving v. Virginia which ended up legalizing interracial marriages around the country. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play Richard and Mildred Loving, and Colin Firth is one of the producers on the film (his first time as a producer). The Hollywood Reporter decided to promote the film by putting Joel and Ruth on their new cover. You can read the full cover story here – it’s an interesting read, although I have to admit… I felt a little bit patronized. Ruth is an Irish-Ethiopian actress, Joel is Australian and Colin is British. They talk about Americans (specifically Southerners) like we’re some of the biggest hicks ever.

Colin Firth on the personalization of the film: “What this film does is make what could seem like a political conversation into a very, very personal one. One of the things that really struck me was that law enforcement went into their bedroom — they went into the bedroom. The bedroom to me is so emblematic of intimacy and privacy and the no-go area.”

Joel on the timelessness of the story: “There’s an imbalance of behavior, of provisions, of health care, of general attitude. And the thing that really struck me with Loving was: You can legislate as much as you like, but you can’t legislate people’s opinions.”

Ruth Negga on the relevance of the movie today: “[There was an] anthropological study where they noticed that when [people were being filmed], all the white people very confidently walked down the street and all the black people moved out of the way. Unless you’re walking around with an invisibility cloak, [you can't fail to be aware of racism]. It’s only ever going to change when people have conversations and don’t dismiss the Black Lives Matter movement as something that’s aggressive or unnecessary.”

Firth on seeing American racism up close during a family road trip from St. Louis to Baton Rouge, La at a young age: “The economic difference was shocking, particularly when we were driving through Mississippi. The big white mansions [were] next to shacks that barely looked livable.”

Edgerton on shooting the film: “It was like going through a time vortex. We shot the exterior of the jailhouse, and we were out on these farms with old architecture, and everybody was dressed just so, and the old cars were there. Jeff created a kind of time machine. But it did strike me how 50 years is really not that long ago. Not for this sh-t to be going down.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

As for the “50 years ago” thing – the case made it to the Supreme Court in 1967, just a few years after the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were passed. The Lovings spent years dealing with this in the court system though. Loving v. Virginia was also cited all over the place when SCOTUS finally legalized gay marriage as well, so it’s not just a racial issue.

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Photos courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.

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54 Responses to “THR profiles ‘Loving’: ‘It did strike me how 50 years is really not that long ago’”

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  1. Scar says:

    Jesus Christ. Joel Edgerton is foooiiinnneee. He should keep that facial hair forever. I recently saw Black Mass the Whitey Bulger film and he was amahzing. Loved him in Gatsby too

  2. Scar says:

    I want to look at his profile forever

  3. Sixer says:

    1967 was a good year! That was the year Britain legalised both homosexuality and abortion.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      And Germany still hasn’t legalized abortion. It’s ridiculous even if it’s a legal technicality.

      This is one of those films that I would love to see but kinda need to be in the right mood. Last night I had a mini-meltdown because I was watching a police procedural and it began with a homeless guy being killed for fun. I can’t deal with anything but sitcoms at certain times.

      • Sixer says:

        Wait, what? Explain!

        (I should always add the caveat that Northern Ireland has severe abortion restrictions to this day.)

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I almost don’t want to start because we could be here for days. In cases of incest/rape etc. and for medical reasons it is completely legal. If none of that applies, it is technically illegal and – worst case – punishable by imprisonment. However, they’ve come up with a loophole (not sure that’s the right word but I can’t come up with a better one). But in the first 12 weeks it won’t be punished if you get counseling and wait three days. That’s mandatory.

        I have a massive problem with that and I know you know what that is. Suffice to say that I think this is some backwards bullsh*t. But women can get as many abortions as they want so nobody is invested in making it legal. And it’s so hard to argue this topic here because 1) nobody talks about it (and why would they, you can get them after all) and 2) because you’re not arguing for anything tangible, you’re automatically entering the morality zone. “What do you want? You can get one, is that not enough? Do you need the law to tell you what you’re doing is right?” That is a direct quote from someone I can’t stand.

        People, and I have discovered women in particular, have also not thought about this topic for a long time. Nobody here updates, so to speak, their stance on this. I was floored when I brought it up one time among girlfriends I’ve known forever.

        We also don’t have same-sex marriage. And that’s not a technicality.

      • Sixer says:

        Ah, yes. It’s kind of similar here. In practice, we have abortion on demand up to 24 weeks (although more than 90% of terminations are first trimester with more than half being medical). Technically, we have abortion ONLY in cases where two doctors agree there will be significant harm to the mother’s physical or mental health. So in most cases, you get a rubber-stamping counselling session and two doctors then agree that your mental health would suffer if you went ahead with the pregnancy.

        I know what you are saying. It might be a technicality. It is eminently sensible that a woman getting an abortion is offered counselling. But if a society is genuinely pro-choice, its laws should explicitly reflect it.

  4. Aiobhan Targaryen says:

    I am not really seeing how they are being patronizing. Neither Joel nor Colin or Ruth is saying their home country has a better track record with race at all. It would be silly if they did because neither Colin or Joel would have a toe nail to stand on given the history of race in Britain and how white Australians treat the Aborigines and other minorities currently. I think they are being sensitive to not offend anyone and stay on subject of promoting their film.

    I guess maybe it comes from an outsider pointing out flaws in our system, but Americans do this all the time to other countries. It is our time to reflect and change the problems that we have in our country.

    on topic: I am very excited that this film is coming out and will try to go see it opening weekend. Joel and Ruth are talented underrated actors who deserve their time to shine.

    • Sixer says:

      I didn’t read it as if they were being patronising either.

      It *is* a shock if you’re not American to fully understand that anti-miscegenation laws were still in place in 1967. 1967! You kinda know about Jim Crow and voting suppression and all the stuff associated with it but I guess making a film about it brings it up close and personal.

      My maternal grandfather was mixed race – his father was a lascar (Asian sailor working on British ships). Not at all uncommon in the port city he came from – and he always referred to himself as the “product of a port city, cariad” and not mixed race – but mixed marriages were very uncommon outside such specific sets of circumstances up until the 1950s and 1960s. They may not have been banned by statute as in the US, but social shaming can be just as effective. And social shaming rather than laws is more the British way.

      • Ripley says:

        I’m American and agree it’s a shock. It was also a shock to me that many of the Nazi Germany laws pertaining to Jews were based off of the Jim Crow laws and segregation. It makes sense, sadly, but still a sad realization for me.

    • bluhare says:

      I agree. I didn’t see patronizing either.

    • manta says:

      And being an item with Cathy Freeman for several years has probably made Edgerton perfectly aware of the aboriginal treatment (if he wasn’t already). So I hardly imagine him patronizing another country.
      And I’m a fan since King Arthur, Animal kingdom and the tragically underseen Warrior.
      He even made me watch a Portman movie (Jane got a gun).

    • lightpurple says:

      I didn’t see it as patronizing.

      Really looking forward to this film. I have liked both leads for quite a while. And Loving v Virginia is a major Supreme Court decision in the area of marriage rights,civil rights, federal law over state rights, and the 14th Amendment due process and equal protection clause, which comes into play in later decisions like Griswold v Connecticut and Roe v Wade.

    • Lurker says:

      I’m also surprised that the article could be read as patronising, but there are some passages in the longer article that describe the South at the time the Lovings were married, and…well, it doesn’t sound like a great time for mixed race marriages. However, that was THR reporting and not any of the non-Americans involved just giving their verdict in America.

      Also, the bit where Edgerton describes the area they were shooting in – I feel like it’s clear that the area had been set dressed and altered to look like 50 years ago, but perhaps Kaiser thought he was implying that the place has not changed at all? It’s the only bit where I thought it might read as condescending or whatever.

      But in general, I have to say, I don’t think anyone involved came off smug or superior at all. JMO.

    • M says:

      Hi Sixer,
      Abortion is technically illegal for both medical professionals and the pregnant woman but there are plenty of exceptions making it possible. Within the first 3 months Abortion by choice is legal provided the woman has received “pregnancy councelling” which in Germany (unlike the US) is private & led by the women seeking the abortion (I have heard of women discussing the weather for 5 minutes before they got their paper signed) and a wait period of 3 days. A pregnancy resulting from sexual assault can be terminated within the first 3 months without the above caveats. Medical reasons (physically or mentally ) allow for an abortion for the duration of the pregnancy. There are a few other details. Its not ideal, but it’s not a big topic in German society from what I remember and they haven’t tried to take it away from us. I’m currently in the mindset that although I would prefer something more liberal I’m glad that it’s out of mind, lest the forced birthers also make their way to Germany. Let’s not rock the boat in this political climate kind of thing

  5. Nicole says:

    I don’t see anything that they said that doesn’t ring true. Seems fine to me. Looking forward to this film as well

  6. Leah says:

    Ruth Negga is amazing, I want her to have a great career! Love Joel too! Hope this does well!

    • Josephine says:

      I was thinking the same thing. She is awesome in The Preacher and I find her captivating. So happy that we’re seeing more of her.

      • QQ says:

        YES! She has sparkle! Her face is something else… I Keep hearing good things of Joel Edgerton, director, I want this to be really well done and to bring up more chances to see Ruth doing her thing!

      • detritus says:

        She is the best part of preacher. Her and the vampire.
        She’s just so charismatic and watchable.
        I want good things for her.

        I was just thinking – I would love her as Wonder Woman.

    • Lurker says:

      Oh, same. She’s so expressive, I could watch her watch someone else watch paint dry 😀

      I love her in Preacher as well. Tulip is the best.

      Edited to add: the only awardsy films I’m actually dying to see are this and Moonlight. Everything else I’m a bit meh on.

    • ichsi says:

      He I don’t really get but I’m so in love with her!! She’s gorgeous and talented and seems to have her head screwed on right too.

  7. PHAKSI says:

    I dont think this version can top my love for the version made in the 90s, Mr and Mrs Loving. Lela Rochon was so beautiful in that movie

  8. DesertReal says:

    Aww… I’m in an interracial marriage & this trailer genuinely choked me up (in public on a train on my way to work no less). Without that brave and awesome couple, who knows how much longer people that loved each other could be together legally in that state.
    Because of them, my husband grew up in a country (he was born in 1970) where our union would be legally recognized, no matter where we would live. I’m definitely going to see this- to cry some more in public lol
    That being said, I lived in Charleston, SC for 10 years & Augusta, GA for 3 & the south is…
    There’s a lot to love & a lot to hate, especially as a WOC.

    • Lurker says:

      @DesertReal – the bit where he hung the Marriage Cert on the wall was what got be sniffling.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I am very excited about this movie. During the battle regarding marriage equality for the LGBTQ community, I looked into law on the matter and read the Loving ruling for the first time. It made me bawl. What this couple went through was just so heartbreaking. I am so glad it ended up going well, but the road to that victory was so brutal.

      There is just something about people being kept from those they love that wrecks me. THAT is what life is about, being with the people you love. To think that governments so recently would force people a part is such an injustice, and it took way too long to right it.

    • Original T.C. says:

      Without this couple we would never have gotten President Obama either as his parents would not have been able to be married. That trailer choked me up too. And I did not take the actor’s comments as patronizing just illuminating.

  9. Beer&Crumpets says:

    As a Southerner, I didn’t find any of the quoted comments patronizing. I felt like they were all just stating facts, like “the bugs there will straight murder you”,or “it’s so hot and wet that you always feel like you are standing in a dog’s mouth, and sometimes it smells like you are too,depending on how close you are to a swampy area”. I mean it’s not flattering bit it is still true.

    • Cat87 says:

      I live in FL and it is HHHOOTTTT. Even the palmetto bugs are melting off the trees and out of the attics. Next to the tropical depression weather, FL was getting in late August and throughout September. The heat and the humidity was just unreal. 99 tepmt with 97 humidity. Now the weather is cooling off and we are getting a dry heat with cooler winds off the coast.

      Back to the movie, my boyfriend is white and I am black-Latina mix. It’s crazy to think 50 years-ago we couldn’t be together, legally without getting arrested. But even when my bf and I go out today some people still look at us weird. Am not gonna say it’s the old southern whites, cause we get stares from all race of people with different ages and either gender. Racism and to believe in it, is a choice, a personal choice of absolute ignorance. You don’t have to be old ,young, white, black, Hispanic etc…racism wasn’t some time ago, still exist today. I can’t wait for this movie to come out. It has an important message that racism not only effected blacks ability for jobs, education and civil liberties but also who we consider a spouse. It’s insane, truly insane

  10. grabbyhands says:

    I didn’t think it sounded patronising at all. If they had said that America had a horrible and continued problem with racism (truth), but the rest of the world didn’t, I might agree, but they didn’t.

    Also, Ruth Negga is stupid gorgeous and I can’t wait until the second season of Preacher starts.

  11. Alexis says:

    She’s so pretty, she has the sort of face that makes you stop and look at it just for the joy of it. She reminds me of Josephine Baker.

  12. Bex says:

    She is so so beautiful. I can’t wait to see this film, I welled up just watching the trailer.

  13. I Choose Me says:

    I’m so looking forward to seeing this. I’ve developed a recent crush on Ruth Negga who is just so compelling on screen and Joel has been great in everything I’ve seen him in so I have high hopes for this.

  14. Snowflake says:

    I want to see this!

  15. Ayra. says:

    RUTH! I love her, I hope she gets more coverage on here

  16. Lucy says:

    I can’t believe she’s one of the scientists from World War Z!! How far has she come?

  17. Reece says:

    Being someone of multi racial decent this movie looks to hit very close to home. (Laws changed but attitudes only recently began to change, in my experience, and even so…) Which means that I really want to see this but I also know I’m going to be angry to the point of silence while watching it.
    I must take the time to read the full piece later though.

  18. Juliette says:

    Love Ruth Negga, such a good actress. I originally noticed her talents when she did the Irish crime drama Love Hate. She was so good as Rosie. The show is over now apparently which is too bad because the last episode was such a cliff hanger – would love to see how it played out.

    I will absolutely be going to see this movie. I want to see more Ruth Negga films!

  19. Suzy from Ontario says:

    Love Ruth Negga. She’s amazing in Preacher!

  20. MellyMel says:

    Not to take away from the discussion of mixed race relationships but they’re both really really hot!! Also I can’t wait to see this movie!

  21. Lady Mimosa says:

    Why did they not pick a black American actress for this part. That was the point blacks and white could not marry in the US?

  22. Veronica says:

    It’s about goddamn time this got made. It really says a lot about the inherent racism of a country that one of the most powerful and moving romances of the 20th century had yet to be immortalized in film or novel until now.

  23. Kath says:

    I was wondering why Ruth’s face was so familiar to me – Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD! One of my fave TV shows.

  24. Nic919 says:

    I saw this at TIFF. It is truly a great film. It should be getting way more hype because Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton are fantastic in it. It is a beautiful film focusing on their relationship as a couple and doesn’t overdo the courtroom stuff. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this film. Everyone go see this.