Ruth Negga Can't Stand When Other People Are Late — Until She's Late Herself

Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga became renowned among American audiences first in AMC's "Preacher," then her breakout role in 2016's "Loving," in which she plays one-half of an interracial couple at the heart of a Supreme Court case whose decision would ultimately legalize interracial marriage. In this wide-ranging interview with W editor-at-large Lynn Hirschberg, Negga reveals her biggest pet peeve — tardiness — and how she came to premiere "Loving" two years after her first audition.

Released on 1/26/2017

Transcript

00:04
I knew about the Loving story.
00:06
I'd had an interest in American history
00:08
since I was quite young; just fascinated by this country.
00:14
I felt like I was on a mission to get this part.
00:18
I usually don't go into auditions in character,
00:21
but I knew that in order to...
00:23
I had to sort-of disappear into Mildred.
00:27
I think I wore a summer dress.
00:29
I knew that coming in the door as this
00:31
woman would have an impact that
00:34
I needed in order to convince Jeff and Sarah that
00:38
I had the chops for this to eventually play her.
00:41
Gosh, where was I when I heard I got the part?
00:44
When it was a year later, actually.
00:46
Then, we shot a year after that so I auditioned
00:48
for actually two years before we started shooting.
00:51
Cannes was extraordinary because it
00:52
was the first time I had been to the festival.
00:55
It was the first time I had been on the (foreign language)
00:57
and it was a very surreal experience to be
00:59
in this place which I'd seen on television
01:02
and photographs for so many years.
01:03
It was thrilling.
01:04
It really was, you know walking up those steps.
01:06
I walked up in full makeup and
01:08
then I walked down and mascara dripping.
01:11
At the end, the cameras filmed me for a while.
01:13
You're thinking, Oh! I need to blow my nose
01:16
before it drips all over my frock.
01:19
Cinematic crush?
01:20
(thinking)
01:22
Betty Davis is my cinematic crush. I love her.
01:25
[Producer] Any particular film?
01:26
All About Eve.
01:27
Yeah. I was a teenager and I was just astounded
01:29
by the wish, the comedy of it.
01:32
Fine acting throughout the board and
01:34
the story is just extraordinary.
01:36
It's all about the theater and
01:38
I found that quite interesting.
01:40
I think all the dressing room scenes
01:41
are just fantastic because they're just so familiar.
01:44
You really can smell the grease paint off that film.
01:47
My pet peeve?
01:49
Like about behavior?
01:51
I really resent people late, until I'm late.
01:53
(laughs)
01:55
When you're on stage, the screens,
01:56
screens, blue screens, thin blue screens.
01:59
They're a very present part of the whole
02:01
experience as you're the audience
02:03
so there's a connection there.
02:04
I probably shouldn't be thrown, but
02:05
I do get thrown by things like that.
02:07
I wasn't wild in school.
02:08
I left that til a bit later.
02:10
I was very impatient as an adolescent
02:13
to get that bit over and done with
02:14
so I could go to drama school.
02:17
I used to spend like a lot of time
02:19
in the library reading Sight & Sound
02:20
and trying to, you know learn about the movies.
02:23
Yeah, I think I spent my adolescence
02:25
preparing for adulthood which sounds
02:28
like a waste now, but sure I could use it.