Loving stars Negga and Joel Edgerton travel back in time to the 50s to play real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving, who were arrested in 1958 in their own bedroom for the crime of matrimony. Because it was illegal for a white man to be married to a black woman (and vice versa), the Lovings love truly stood the test of time when they challenged the law and brought their case before the Supreme Court in 1967, leading to the couple’s arrest to be ruled unlawful.
Here are five things you need to know about Ethiopian-Irish actress:
1. She loves dressing up in costumes – not scrubs
“You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything,” she told The Hollywood Reporter about not wanting to follow in her parents’ footsteps – both of them leading a career in the medical field. “There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play.”
2. She may be naïve to the fact that her star is on the rise
“I have not been aggressive in my pursuit of being a star,” she told The Hollywood Reporter during the Cannes Film Festival. “I’ve never had a plan. Maybe I need to be more aggressive, because it’s quite tough!”
But her mindset has never changed – she’s taking her time and, clearly, it has sure paid off.
“I’m not in any rush to get anywhere,” she told The Guardian back in 2012. “There’s a pressure on actors to get somewhere before it’s over.”
3. She finds the Hollywood limelight intrusive
“If people want to invade your privacy they want to invade your privacy,” she told The Guardian after the paparazzi caught she and Preacher costar-boyfriend Dominic Cooper kissing during a romantic getaway in Italy. “I find it chilling and I find it awful and it makes me really nervous. It hasn’t happened to me much but when you have a taste of it, it’s bitter.” The supernatural drama Preacher – which is scheduled to premiere on May 22 – sees Negga play Tulip O’Hare, the gun-totin’ ex of Cooper’s titular character Jesse Custer, a small town preacher.
4. She never had the intention of being famous
“I didn’t become an actor to make money. And I didn’t become an actor to be famous – though people always gasp when you say that, as if it’s unfathomable that an actor doesn’t want to be a star,” she told The Guardian. “I like connecting with people, and that’s what good art is, a point of connection. There’s nothing better, on stage or on film, than feeling like you’ve achieved that.”
5. In fact, Negga has more in common with Mrs. Loving than you think
While HBO aired a touching documentary centered on the couple’s journey called The Loving Story, there wasn’t much to account for beyond that, as Mildred decided to remain awfully private when Richard died just seven short years after the ruling.
“Mildred survived, but she was quite reluctant to do interviews, she sort of wasn’t a big fan of the limelight, which makes the story all the more extraordinary,” Negga told Entertainment Weekly at the film festival. “Even though they didn’t really want to be in the spotlight, so there is not too much of footage of her.”