phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
‘There is no better place than London - I just love its energy’ - An Interview with Actress Ruth Negga
‘There is no better place than London - I just love its energy’ - An Interview with Actress Ruth Negga

‘There is no better place than London - I just love its energy’ - An Interview with Actress Ruth Negga

28 February 2017

Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga is one of Hollywood’s most exciting rising stars. The actress has received countless nods for her performance in Loving, including most recently a 'Best Actress in a Leading Role' nomination at The Oscars, arguably the world's most prestigious awards ceremony. She has also been nominated for 2003’s Most Promising Newcomer at the Olivier Awards, and has frequently been seen treading the boards at every playhouse from The National to the Old Vic.

A private person, Negga now finds herself thrust into the realm of media intrusions, but she remains philosophical about the sudden shock of attention. “It’s a little overwhelming and I’m very grateful,” she says in her gentle Irish accent. “But at the same time, I have also been comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to strive for great things and not get there as long as you’re doing what you love and enjoying that. I’m very proud of Loving and I want to do everything I can to get as many people to see it as possible because it’s such a deeply honest film about an extraordinary couple.”
 
Directed by Jeff Nichols, the film is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed-race couple whose 1958 marriage led to their arrest in the state of Virginia, obliging them to move to neighbouring Washington, DC. That led to the landmark civil rights case – Loving v. State of Virginia – that ultimately saw the US Supreme Court decide in their favour, thereby overturning all state laws prohibiting mixed-race marriages.
 
Emotionally charged and deeply moving, the film couldn’t feel more timely as racial tension continues to dominate headlines both in London and around the world, but as Negga is quick to point out, at its heart it is a rare and wondrous love story.
 
“It’s lovely to see how people are responding to the story of Mildred and Richard - this deep, soulful and respectful love between two human beings,” she says warmly. “People who see this film will want to know how they can find that kind of love because it resonates so deeply. You think, ‘I want to find that kind of love too’. You want to celebrate this couple.”
 

 Her own love story has been considerably more straightforward, having been in a relationship with fellow actor Dominic Cooper since 2010. The couple, who live in London, consistently quash the myth that work and pleasure should never mix, starring together in last year’s Warcraft and DC’s comic book series Preacher (currently set for its second series). “We did a play together a few years ago and Dom is such a lovely, kind, generous performer. He understands that it’s a collaboration. The whole reason I got into acting is because I like playing with other people,” says Negga.
 
“And there is no better place than London – it has artistic energy soaked into every wall and, when you’re feeling inspired, it is the best sounding board for any performance, whether that’s to a thousand people in a theatre or a few in a street performance. I just love its energy.”
 
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to an Irish mother and an Ethiopian father, the family moved to Ireland when Negga was four. Three years later her father, a doctor, was killed in a car accident and a few years later she and her mother moved to London. In the few interviews the actress has done, Ruth often talks of a defiance in claiming her identity for herself. “My feelings of difference were down to having parents of different races. I had quite a scattered childhood. I was Irish in London because I had my secondary school education there. I never really fitted in anywhere.”
 
But if Negga is to belong anywhere, it is among the brightest stars in Hollywood as she joins the illustrious few to receive an Academy Award nomination. “As a young girl I would dream about that,” she says with a smile. “Then you find yourself struggling to get work and find those roles that mean something to you and you stop thinking about awards and you focus your thoughts on the work.”
 
Yet for the actress, outside of the fame and the accolades, the biggest joy is spreading the story of this incredible couple. “Their story deserved to be told,” she says conclusively. “I thought that if I can do a good job of Mildred, then people will find out about her story and celebrate this couple. She was a very reserved woman, but she had this quiet strength and a strong sense of justice which helped carry them through that difficult time, and surely we all want to be that person.”
 
Catch Loving at cinemas across the UK. Find out more here.

Tell us what you think

You may also like

Win a pair of weekend tickets to a music festival on Blackheath Common!

On Blackheath - Win a pair of weekend tickets to a music festival on Blackheath Common!

Travis, The Libertines and De La Soul all perform at this weekend festival on Blackheath Common.

Workshops and Classes with Obby

Workshops and Classes with Obby

Obby run a wide variety of workshops and classes throughout London.

This Week August 14-20

This Week August 14-20

With two weeks to go till the Bank Holiday weekend, the best way to prepare for the celebrations is by partaking in wholesome activities this…

Win Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Strawberry Hill - Win Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Watch cycling troupe The Handlebards perform one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies at Stawberry Hill House & Garden!

Win Stephen King Tickets & Cocktails

BFI - Win Stephen King Tickets & Cocktails

Don’t miss the BFI’s tribute to The King of Horror this autumn!

Win two tickets to Britney Spears: The Cabaret

The Other Palace - Win two tickets to Britney Spears: The Cabaret

Acclaimed Australian performer Christie Whelan Browne takes her popular show Britney Spears: The Cabaret to London for one week only.

Win Two Tickets to the Gladiator Games

Museum of London - Win Two Tickets to the Gladiator Games

Forget Westeros, it’s all about Londinium this summer!

Frau Welt at Hackney Showroom

Frau Welt at Hackney Showroom

A concept cabaret detailing the incredible career of Frau Welt

Festival of Film at the Royal Albert Hall

Festival of Film at the Royal Albert Hall

A season of gigs, screenings and talks celebrating the power of music in film

The Best Films in London this August

The Best Films in London this August

So, you’ve seen Dunkirk and Baby Driver and now you’re looking for something a little different? Our new feature rounds up the best independent cinema, film…

Most popular

Win a Viennese Afternoon Tea for Two

The Delaunay - Win a Viennese Afternoon Tea for Two

Treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon tea with an Austrian twist at The Delaunay in Covent Garden.
Win a pair of weekend tickets to a music festival on Blackheath Common!

On Blackheath - Win a pair of weekend tickets to a music festival on Blackheath Common!

Travis, The Libertines and De La Soul all perform at this weekend festival on Blackheath Common.
Win Film Tickets and Cocktails!

Rooftop Film Club - Win Film Tickets and Cocktails!

Watch Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, The Breakfast Club, or The Godfather on a London rooftop!
Win Stephen King Tickets & Cocktails

BFI - Win Stephen King Tickets & Cocktails

Don’t miss the BFI’s tribute to The King of Horror this autumn!
Win Tickets to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

Win Tickets to The Comedy About A Bank Robbery

We've got a pair of tickets to give away to this hilarious show.
Win Cocktails at a (not so) Secret Garden Bar!

Win Cocktails at a (not so) Secret Garden Bar!

Pull up a deckchair and enjoy delicious cocktails in the idyllic period gardens of Hoxton’s Geffrye Museum.
Win Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Strawberry Hill - Win Tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Watch cycling troupe The Handlebards perform one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies at Stawberry Hill House & Garden!
Win a pair of tickets to the Young Women’s Empowerment Festival

The Jewish Museum London - Win a pair of tickets to the Young Women’s Empowerment Festival

You Know I'm No Good: Young Women's Empowerment Festival is a day of inspirational talks at the Jewish Museum London.
Win two tickets to Britney Spears: The Cabaret

The Other Palace - Win two tickets to Britney Spears: The Cabaret

Australian performer Christie Whelan Browne takes her acclaimed show Britney Spears: The Cabaret to London for one week only.
An interview with Billie Piper

An interview with Billie Piper

Billie Piper returns to the stage in Yerma, and London Calling spoke to her about life and her career to date.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!