SEATTLE – Less than 60 years ago, in many parts of America, the union between a white man and a black woman was illegal.

The law against it may seem antiquated now, but new movie Loving makes it clear that any discussion involving equal rights is a relevant and contemporary one.

The film is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving. In 1958, they were charged with the crime of interracial marriage.

With help from the ACLU, they challenged the law and went all the way to the Supreme Court. It was a landmark but largely unknown civil rights case.

Australian actor Joel Edgerton plays Richard.

"How was making this film different for you than other movies that you've worked on? Did it resonate with you in a different way?” reporter Kim Holcomb asked.

“It did. I knew we were doing something special,” he replied. “Sometimes you know you're just making entertainment, sometimes you know you're doing something you think could be special... but beyond that, I knew we were carrying a very important story, that as significant as it was, was sort of secretly kind of unknown."

Actress Ruth Negga is already getting Oscar buzz for her portrayal of Mildred, a hero with a quiet voice - and no hint of the actress's own Irish accent.

"In many ways, sometimes it's easier to play someone who's quite foreign to you, not in terms of nationality or anything but just different than you because the distinction is helpful because you don't feel you're muddying anything,” she said.

Authenticity was also important for writer/director Jeff Nichols, who kept the tone of the movie true to the Loving’s personalities.

They were shy, so the film has no soaring speeches or grand moments. Instead, it's quietly impactful - asking audiences to see the recent past as a guide for the future.

"If you look at the details of people's lives, if you look at the day to day, there's sincerity there. There's truth there. How can we punish that?" Nichols said. "As a country, we have to understand what we've been through and what we've come from to understand what we're dealing with now."

Loving is rated PG-13 and opens in Seattle on November 18.