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A Look at Loving: Why One Couple’s Historic Fight to Legalize Interracial Marriage Still Matters Today

Updated

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga are giving an inside look at the making of their new film Loving, explaining why the film’s message is still relevant today.

In an exclusive new featurette, the two actors and their costars go behind the scenes of the production while recounting the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving.

The Lovings made history when their fight to legalize interracial marriage made it all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967. “He was white and she was black, and our government told them that they could not love each other,” Loving director Jeff Nichols says in the clip.

Just five weeks after the couple lawfully married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, they were arrested in their home state of Virginia. In a scene depicted in the clip, the county sheriff and two deputies burst into the Lovings’ bedroom in the early hours of the morning to take them to jail. “Mildred was kept in jail over three days – over the weekend – when she was super pregnant,” Negga explains.

 

Focus Features
Focus Features

 

Forced by a judge to leave the state, the Lovings fled their home and moved to Washington, D.C. Everything changed when the American Civil Liberties Union’s Bernie Cohen offered to fight the court’s ruling in Virginia. “Now they were fighting for ending the idea of being able to ban interracial marriage,” says Nick Kroll, who plays Cohen in the film.

The case reached the Supreme Court in 1967, with the judges unanimously ruling in the couple’s favor. Their decision helped eradicate the country’s last remaining segregation laws. “They opened the door for so many other people to love who they love,” says Terri Abney, who plays Ruth’s sister Garnet Jeter in the film.

Producer Sarah Green notes that public interest in the case was recently renewed by the legalization of same-sex marriage, and Nichols also spoke to the film’s enduring message, saying, “Anytime that we can be reminded of the elegance and simple beauty of love, it’s a good thing.”

Check out the clip for more never-before-seen interviews from the set of Loving, in theaters Nov. 4.