Love/Hate star Ruth Negga has said that her childhood in Ireland helped inspire her Oscar tipped performance in upcoming film Loving.
The 33-year-old screen siren is a hot favorite to earn an Oscar nod for her portrayal of Mildred Loving in the Hollywood film, which tells the real life story of her and husband Richard’s 1967 Supreme Court battle to make interracial marriage legal in Virginia.
Ruth, who’s a familiar face on Irish TV screens for playing gangster girlfriend Rosie in the first and second series of Love/Hate, said growing up as a black person in Limerick helped give her insight into the role.
The Breakfast on Pluto actress was born in Ethiopia but moved to Ireland when she was just four-years-old.
Ruth said: “Virginia isn’t that different from Ireland.
“Land and home and community are super important. When I was playing her, I tried to imagine I couldn’t go home again because of whom I married.”
“It must have drained the lifeblood from her.”
Ruth added that although she knew she was different growing up in Ireland, she didn’t experience racism until she went to London.
“When I was a kid in Ireland, there were not very many black people.
“I was very much like the strange brown thing, intriguing and cute. I didn’t experience racism there.”
“The first time I did was in London. It was that moment that you realize you’re black. A kind of lifting of the veil.”
Speaking to Vogue magazine, writer and director Jeff Nichols also revealed that he initially thought Negga was too petite to play Mildred but quickly changed his mind once she performed.
“She spoke in Mildred’s voice. She held her mouth like Mildred,” he said.
Nichols told the fashion bible he didn’t even realise Ruth had an Irish accent until the audition finished.
“I wasn’t looking for star power. I was looking for great actors,” he said.
Ruth previously confessed that her agent rang Nichols about the film “every week for about two years” to ensure she would land an audition.
“I would not let this go,” she said.
“There was no alternative, really – I just really had to play her.This is the most important film I’ve ever made. It’s one of the most important films in history, I think. I’m kind of overwhelmed by everything.”
Along with roles in E4 series Misfits and hit US show Preacher, Ruth has also gone on to star in World War Z, as well as having roles in Misfits and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D since her Love/Hate days.