Nichols, who won critical acclaim for high-anxiety dramas
like "Take Shelter" and "Midnight Special", defies expectations
in "Loving" by focusing on the power of love against all odds
rather than clobbering viewers with racial politics.
It is based on the true story of a white man and a black woman
from Virginia who get married in Washington D.C. in 1958. When
they return home, they are first jailed then banished because
inter-racial marriage is prohibited in Virginia at a time when
racial segregation remains common in America. They relocate to
Washington but struggle to adapt to city life.
Lawyers take their cause to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rules
in 1967 that interracial marriage is unconstitutional, a
historic civil rights decision that ends all race-based limits
on marriage in the United States.
"It was very un-Hollywood in the sense that at certain moments,
someone really drawn into the patina of Hollywood might have
rearranged the truth in order to make it more Hollywood,"
Australian actor Joel Edgerton, who plays Richard Loving, told a
news conference on Monday.
"There was something so simple about the truth that allowed us
... a very nice guideline to find our way into the story."
Edgerton pairs up with Ethiopia-born Irish actress Ruth Negga
playing Mildred Loving. Her subtle performance has triggered
speculation in Cannes that Negga could be up for an Academy
"I looked at the story and it seemed very very obvious to me
that we just needed to talk about the people," said Nichols, who
previously presented "Mud" and "Take Shelter" in Cannes.
"The court case is so fascinating in itself that it could be a
movie. (But) I did not want to make a courtroom movie. I wanted
to make a movie about two people in love. I hope it's the quiet
film of the year."
"It humanises us," Negga said. "It just shows the world that
these things aren't just boring, politicial ideas, they're about
individuals and humans."
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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