It didn’t seem like they were here all that long. But renowned Austin, Texas, filmmaker Jeff Nichols and a stellar cast that includes Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga (“12 Years a Slave”) the brilliant Michael Shannon, and familiar local players such as Coby Batty, began filming “Loving” in Richmond in September.
Written and directed by Nichols, the film is about the interracial marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving, who were sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958.
Already there is good news: “Loving” was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, alongside work from the likes of Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, Sean Penn and Michael O’Shea. What does that mean for the Richmond-made film? It’s pretty damn good — and European tastemakers consider Nichols near the top of the American auteur heap.
For us, it’s great for the local film scene to have another timely, thoughtful work that could end up getting Oscar consideration, like Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Nichols is coming off his quirky sci-fi film, “Midnight Special,” and seems poised to breakthrough to a wider audience. Batty, who plays a television repairman, tells us that he’s never felt such a good vibe on a set, and could certainly see this project becoming special.
Local audiences should finally get to see it in early November: Limited release is scheduled for Nov. 4 and it goes wide Nov. 11, just in time for awards season. Let’s hope for a big local premiere at the Byrd. And that Michael Shannon will cast an intense side glance at someone.