MACBETH Star Ruth Negga for Town & Country ‘s April Issue

Posted on April 04, 2022

Ruth Negga has already conquered Hollywood. Now, making her Broadway debut as theater’s most misunderstood woman, she’s after a different crown. Ruth Negga covers the April 2022 issue of Town & Country magazine photographed by Djeneba Aduayom and styled by Oliver Vaughn.

 

 

 

On her role as Lady Macbeth: “We assume because something has been done many times that it has been done every possible way. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true.”

On worrying about her performance as Lady Macbeth, and how that fear is driving her forward: “I’ve had so much time to think about this character, from all angles, that sometimes my perspective gets blurry. Where’s all the work? I just hope it’s in there… There comes a point when I’m terrified to let go, and yet it’s only when I surrender that the good s**t happens. If you weren’t scared, you’d be bonkers. It is scary, propelling oneself into the unknown. What you’re also doing is making yourself a target.”

On her performances in which she’s most defiant; as civil rights icon Mildred Loving, whose interracial marriage changed American constitutional history, Passing’s Clare, a biracial Black woman passing for white, and the voice for the late punk icon Poly Styrene—who was similarly of Scottish-Irish and East African descent—in a recent documentary: “There is a self-possession, a stout integrity about these women that I admire. It’s no easy feat advocating for the things you believe in. Especially if they aren’t in step with what’s accepted or acceptable.”

On straddling the line between Black and white, as a person of mixed-race: “You do feel like this binary is so unforgiving. There is this no-man’s-land mixed-race people live in. You’re marooned. You feel like your identity is front and center of something that is some sort of abstract argument, and you’re there going, ‘I’m a f**king human being!’”

On how she is thinking about how contemporary cultural dynamics could be reflected in Macbeth’s 400-year-old power struggle: “Without ambition, where would a lot of people be, especially minorities and marginalized people? Women are constantly not being given their due, they’re constantly having terms like ‘ambitious b**ch’ lobbed at them without any interrogation of where that comes from. That’s not to say Lady M isn’t ambitious. The stronger argument is that she is many other things as well as that.” She points to Shakespeare’s eternal need to challenge expectations. “He’s going, ‘Stop trying to simplify everything to these binaries.’”

On how it was imperative that her casting as Lady Macbeth would not be tokenism: “It’s important for me to work with people who aren’t just excited about the surface attention it will garner.”

On overcoming obstacles on her road to success, while still being aware of the privilege her work affords and the ability to select characters who may have been maligned, misread, or ignored: “It’s about making sure that your desires are in alignment with the legacy that you want to leave. The only way I can do that is with the power of saying, ‘What do I want to do as an actor and for myself? How am I being useful to the world?’”

Daniel Craig, who has long wanted to work with Negga, on the actress: “She’s got that incredible quality, you can’t take your eyes off her, and she’s powerful in a very complicated way. It’s a gift to have her in the room, to have her energy and her insight.”

 

Photographs by Djeneba Aduayom
Styled by Oliver Vaughn
Text & interview by Hanna Flint 

 

On Newsstands April 5th

 

[Photo Credit: Djeneba Aduayom/Town & Country Magazine]

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