EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Nichols, the director of the acclaimed indies Mud and Take Shelter, has solidified his next film. Big Beach and Raindog Films are teaming on Loving, a drama that Nichols wrote and will direct for a September start in Virginia, with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga starring as Mildred and Richard Loving, the couple behind the seminal 1967 civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia.

jeff-nicholsBig Beach will finance the film, which was is inspired by the documentary The Loving Story. That docu’s director, Nancy Buirski, is producing with Sarah Green, Colin Firth, Ged Doherty, Nancy Buirski, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf. Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Jack Turner and Jared Ian Goldman will executive produce. The film was developed by Raindog and The Zoo.

Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, were married in June 1958. As a result, authorities broke into their home, arrested them, and they were sentenced to a year in the state penitentiary. This sentence was suspended on the condition that they be exiled from the state of Virginia. Unbowed, the couple spent the next nine years fighting to get home, together, and the theme of the story is about marrying the one you want and finding the one you need.

Loving Story“I was struck by the simplicity of The Loving Story, and I hope to make this a painfully beautiful film,” Nichols said. The filmmaker’s Mud won an Indie Spirit prize and Take Shelter won in Cannes, and he also directed Shotgun Stories, an Indie Spirit nominee. Edgerton stars in his next film, Midnight Special, alongside Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher and Sam Shepard. The film will be released by Warner Bros. Nichols is repped by CAA and Mosaic. CAA brokered the deal with Big Beach and will handle North American sales and Wild Bunch is selling the film internationally.

Aside from Midnight Special, next up for Edgerton is Black Mass, with Johnny Depp. His feature directorial debut, the Jason Bateman-starrer The Gift, opens this summer. He is repped by CAA and Shanahan Management. Negga won an IFTA Best Actress Award for playing Shirley Bassey in Shirley and is recurring on Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and is shooting AMC’s Preacher with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg directing. On the feature side, she just did Jimi: All Is By My Side and wrapped the Legendary Pictures tentpole Warcraft. She is repped by ICM Partners, Gotham/Principal Entertainment LA, and Markham, Froggatt & Irwin.

Raindog is the London-based label started by Firth with ex-Sony Music UK chairman Doherty and aside from Loving, the company is in post on the Gavin Hood-directed Eye In The Sky with Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman and Barkhad Abdi. Big Beach has Three Generations coming with Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning and Susan Sarandon.