OnlyOnAOL: So many reasons we're 'Loving' Ruth Negga right now
By: Donna Freydkin
Sorry for the pun, but there are a lot of reasons we're "Loving" actress Ruth Negga right now.
First and foremost, there's her breakout performance in the drama "Loving," as a black woman married to a white man. She and Joel Edgerton play Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which nullified state laws banning interracial marriage. And she's a favorite come Oscar time.
Lest you're wondering, here's a smattering of the reviews she's gotten. Kenneth Turan called her performance "transcendent as Mildred" in the Los Angeles Times. Manohla Dargis simply hailed her as a "revelation" in the New York Times. New York magazine's David Edelstein wrote: "The performances are very fine. Watching Negga, I was afraid to blink — I wanted to see everything that passed between Mildred and Richard, no matter how fleeting."
Negga, friendly and gregarious, is adjusting to being in the spotlight. "I've had enough time now to take it in. We were so excited to share this movie with more and more people. It's important to share it with as many people as possible," she says.
Ironically, the interview was conducted one day before Donald Trump became president, and went on to name a white supremacist as one of his key advisors.
Negga feels the timing of the film is opportune. "It must have happened for a reason. It feels a very fortuitous time for it to come out," she says.
When she watches the film, says Negga, "I could feel this couple's radiance come off the screen."
To stay sane, she tries her best to avoid hearing what people are saying. "I try not to look up anything, apart from the nice reviews that people send me. I wouldn't know how to process it really. Apart from a manner that is positive," she says.
The actress, born in Ethiopia to an Irish mother and an Ethiopian father, says "Loving" is far more than just a film for her.
"It's putting the spotlight on ourselves. I love this couple. I deeply love this couple. We fell in love with them. We did our job and did it well," she says. "People say, 'Thank you for sharing this.' That's the continuing response we're getting. What a feat they achieved, right? It's very intimate to talk about your relationship."
She can talk about the Lovings, and their towering achievement, for hours. But she still hasn't gotten used to the sound of her own voice. And there's one thing that still works her nerves.
"Doing my first American talk shows. That was surreal. I was absolutely terrified. It's quite terrifying being interviewed live," says Negga.