When Loving, a surefire Oscar contender, received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival in May, leading lady Ruth Negga was woefully underprepared. “I had only brought a one-ply tissue,” the 35-year-old actress recalls. “It was a tiny, raggedy thing by the end.” Opening next month, the movie tells the story of the real-life Virginia couple Richard and Mildred Loving, whose 1967 Supreme Court case legalized interracial marriage. “They were quite shy of publicity. They weren’t aware of the impact they would have,” says Negga, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in London and Limerick, Ireland.
After nearly 15 years of theater work, an occasional BBC series, and bit parts in blockbusters, Negga is suddenly on the precipice of international stardom. No sooner had she wiped away her tears in Cannes than she found herself on a plane to New York for the season premiere of the AMC comic book adaptation, Preacher. Negga has earned raves as the gunslinging badass Tulip O’Hare, who, in many ways, is the opposite of Mildred Loving. “I think a lot of actors feel like outsiders or miscreants,” she says. “This profession provides an opportunity to play out all the different parts of ourselves.”
Watch W's most popular videos here: