Ruth Negga is a name to watch out for. The Irish-Ethiopian actress is the standout star of the Cannes Film Festival, earning rave reviews for Loving.
She co-stars in the drama with Aussie actor Joel Edgerton, portraying one-half of an inter-racial couple who married in the U.S. in the 1950s and promptly faced arrest. The film is based on the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving in Virginia, who married in 1958 only to be convicted under the state’s anti-miscegnation law which barred whites and “colored” people from doing so. They moved to D.C. and took a U.S. Supreme Court case which ruled in their favor, nixing laws that banned inter-racial marriage.
Negga, 34, was born in Ethiopia to an African father and Irish mother, and was raised in Limerick. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, she’s been featured in a number of projects, including Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto and the popular RTE series Love/Hate.
Though she lives in London with actor Dominic Cooper – they co-star in Warcraft, which opens on June 10 – Negga says Ireland is home and she’d love to return.
“That’s always been the plan,” she told The Irish Times last month.
“When you’re home for Christmas, you always think, I wish I didn’t have to go. When I went to London – about 10 years ago – I thought I needed to be there to be visible. I’m getting more and more hopeful in the last couple of years that things are changing. Most of my work is in Canada or the U.S. now.”
We’ll have to wait until the start of November to see Loving in the U.S. It’s a strategic opening date as Oscar buzz shifts into full gear, and The Hollywood Reporter among other influencers says the film will have to be in the mix.
Loving “immediately made the case why the film has to be considered one of this year’s first major awards contenders … both performers should enter the best actor and actress conversations,” the mag said on Monday.