The movie is about the marriage of Richard and Mildred Loving (played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) whose union was illegal in Virginia until they challenged the state’s law prohibiting biracial nuptials. That led to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Loving vs. Virginia, which struck down miscegenation laws across the country.
The movie began its release on Nov. 4, just days before the election in which issues of race and gender were front and center.
“I think everybody is looking at all parts of their life differently after Election Day, no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on,” Nichols tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM. “You really can’t avoid it. I think what Richard and Mildred tell us, and show us, more importantly, is the power of individuals to do something. And that is a good thing to be reminded of right now because we have been so caught up in the political system and watching it take effect that you might forget that two people can change things.
“It is possible,” he adds. “It is not just a platfude or something. It happened and it happened not because they had a political agenda. They were just being true to themselves, and that is a good thing to be reminded of after this election.”
Nick Kroll, who plays the Lovings’ attorney, Bernie Cohen, said that “whatever is happening on the political landscape is happening. But people have to choose to live their life in a specific way and choose to love who they love and try to be in communities that through their own conviction fight to live the way they want to live.”
The movie, which has grossed $5.6 million so far in limited release, is told from the point of view of the couple, and centers on their relationship. Perhaps the most surprising is the extent to which it avoids taking an overt political stance or even focusing on the courtroom drama of the case.
The Loving decision was cited as precedent in the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. It took decades for some states to officially discard their anti-biracial marriage laws, and Nichols says that there is still “a very long way to go in terms of accepting the Supreme Court ruling” on same-sex marriage.
“The relevance of this isn’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Nichols says.
Listen to excerpts from the interview with Nichols and Kroll below:
“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety‘s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel. It also is available on demand.