Nick Kroll, Ruth Negga, Jeff Nichols and Joel Edgerton.


Since its debut at Cannes earlier this year, “Loving” has been hot on the awards trail, launching a series of promotional efforts ahead of its theatrical release on Nov. 4. The historical drama tells the story behind the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The film, directed by Jeff Nichols, stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as Richard and Mildred Loving, and Nick Kroll as their lawyer in the case, Bernie Cohen. The cast recently hosted a panel discussion, during which they discussed their depiction of the landmark civil rights case.

Director Jeff Nichols on coming across the pivotal case:

“Nancy Buirski made the documentary called “The Loving Story,” which was on HBO. I’m watching this film and the first thing I thought of is, ‘Why am I just learning about this? This is too late. This is a foundational part of our American history, and why isn’t this on the lips of every American right now?'”

Joel Edgerton on the quiet revolutionary nature of the Loving family:

“The quietness of this couple, we fell in love with them watching the documentary, and it’s very hard not to. There’s something very wonderful about the different kind of revolutionary. I know we love to look up to the people who are willing to stand on the podium, and make the great speech, and do so willingly knowing they may be in the firing line, or they might be carted off to trial. We look up to those people, because we know we can’t be them. We know we can be Richard and Mildred, and we can identify with people who are kind of placed into the middle unwillingly of a situation based on their circumstance.”

Ruth Negga on the resonance of the film:

“Why I resonate with this is they’re what we all aspire to. In just being human being. They’re just really good people, and they have immense respect for one another. They loved one another, and they really did feel equal. And I think that’s what resonates with people, is that they remind us that we’re all capable of that, and we’re capable of goodness.”

Nichols on the political nature of the film:

“Everyone has strong political convictions, everyone has strong religious convictions. But sometimes when we go to argue these points, we forget about what’s really at the center of them, which are people. The thing that people didn’t like about Richard and Mildred is that they existed. How do you argue against someone saying you shouldn’t exist? Well, their argument was to keep living.”

Nick Kroll on his personal connection to the story:

“My father went to Georgetown Law School, was there right around the same time as Bernie and Phil, and was working for Bobby Kennedy at that particular moment. So when Jeff called me about the film, it resonated in a number of ways. It just felt like I was part of a longer, larger story at play.”

Negga on her personal connection to the story:

“Because I am a mixed race person — my mother is white Irish, my father is black Ethiopian — it directly affects me….So many people have come to screenings and have said ‘Thank you for telling our story.’ And I kind of think that’s so beautiful, because it’s true. It feels like our story hasn’t been told enough, and shared enough. They’re an amazing couple. They’re two Americans who changed the constitution of the United States. And I think America will be super proud of this couple.”

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