'It’s the greatest role I’ve had so far in my career' - Ruth Negga on her Oscar nod
She may be in the running for Oscar glory alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest stars but Ruth Negga has admitted she never had the luxury to be able to pick and choose her acting roles.
The Limerick woman (35) has been nominated for Best Actress for her role in Loving alongside the likes of Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman.
While she’s had roles in films like World War Z and smash hit series Love/Hate, Ruth was never able to turn down roles if she felt like it.
“I haven’t been able to afford to make a plan. You have to be careful because people will say this particular role will be huge and lead to this or that and you can end up being disappointed,” she said.
“I’ve always been conscious that things have to stand alone and be judged on the experience itself rather than where they might get me.”
Ruth said as an actor, you want to get to the point where industry bigwigs consider you to be a box office draw.
“You can be strategic with that, but In this business, that can lead to disappointment. You want to get to the point where you have access to really good scripts and you are considered box-office, or whatever,” she said.
“Until then, all you can do is avoid the pitfalls and chase the good work. Someone said once that the only power an actor has is to say no and in many ways, that’s the truth.”
The actress has described her role in the period drama as “the greatest role” of her career to date. She stars as one half of real life couple, Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought against the state of Virginia’s laws against interracial marriage in the 1960s.
“It’s the greatest role I’ve had so far in my career. I can’t believe that I got to play Mildred. It was very tough. I auditioned for the role about two years before we shot it and I was determined to get that part,” she said.
“I had seen a documentary about the case and thought it was fascinating. To me, this was the greatest love story ever; what these two ordinary people achieved was incredible. I think Jeff Nichols is an amazing director. It was a dream come true.”
Ruth’s biggest turn-off when reading a script is if it comes across as a “cliched” story.
“An immediate turn-off would be something that’s glib, cliched or too demonstrative. It’s not really a cerebreal reaction, it’s more a gut reaction.
“I also like when you have to read a script a couple of times’ scripts that are cleverer than me, in other words.
“It’s important to be stretched as an audience member for also for me to be challenged as an actor,” she told the RTE Guide.