Virginia is for Lovings. That was the theme for the premiere of the interracial love story “Loving” at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills Thursday evening.
While the 1958 marriage between, Mildred, a Native American and black woman, and Richard, a white man, was considered a turning point for American civil rights, writer-director Jeff Nichols stressed that their story wasn’t so black and white.
“There are a lot of forms of activism, theirs happened to be a commitment to each other that wasn’t part of a movement or an agenda, it was very sincere,” Nichols shared.
Although the couple’s union violated Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law at the time, forcing them to leave the Commonwealth for 25 years, producer Colin Firth said that their ultimate U.S. Supreme Court victory had a global reach.
“I was very fired up about this story,” said the British actor. “My father taught American history and civil rights was his speciality so I’ve grown up in it, and I’ve always been interested in what happens outside of my own cultural borders.”
Joel Edgerton, the Australian born and bred star of the film, echoed Firth’s sentiments about the worldliness of restricted love.
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“It’s very much relevant today,” Edgerton said. “It’s very timely in terms of racial tension and very much timely in terms of marriage equality, in particular from my parts. As an Australian, we’re not quite there yet with marriage equality for same-sex couples.”
Edgerton added that present-day U.S. politics don’t make him feel hopeful. “It’s the first year that I think politics in this country became almost more about pure entertainment than about actual politics,” he said about the upcoming presidential election.
The after-party greeted guests with Southern comfort food, a whiskey-based cocktail, and black-and-white photographs of the real Lovings with their three children. Actors Ruth Negga and Alano Miller mingled with Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski and NBC Universal Film Chief Jeff Shell.