Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga to star in drama by 'Mud' director Jeff Nichols

By Joe McGovern
Updated May 08, 2015 at 06:54 PM EDT
Credit: Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Mud director Jeff Nichols is turning to the highest court in the land for his next film, an indie drama about the ironically-named Loving v. Virginia civil-rights case, which in 1967 invalidated all bans on interracial marriage.

Australian actor Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) will star as Richard Loving and British actress Ruth Negga (Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D) will play his wife, Mildred. The couple was arrested in their Virginia home in 1958 and sentenced to one year in the state penitentiary for the crime of marrying each other. He was white and she was black. The sentence was suspended so long as the Lovings moved out of Virginia, which they did in 1959, but continued to fight the Commonwealth of Virginia in the courts.

“I was struck by the simplicity of the Lovings’ story, and I hope to make this a painfully beautiful film,” said Nichols in a statement. He also wrote the screenplay, inspired by the 2011 HBO documentary, The Loving Story. Nancy Buirski, who directed the doc, is listed as a producer, along with several others, including Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth.

Nichols has a family drama with supernatural undertones called Midnight Special (starring Edgerton, Michael Shannon, and Adam Driver, among others) scheduled for release in the fall. No word yet on when Loving will be released, but you’ll be hearing about the case in the months to come. Loving v. Virginia has been constantly cited as a precedent in current arguments about the legal battle for same-sex marriage rights.