Netflix has purchased Passing, the Sundance movie from director Rebecca Hall that stars Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. Based on the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, the film follows two Black women living in 1920s New York. One of the women, played by Negga, passes for white and even has a white husband who doesn’t know she’s Black – a decision that her friend, played by Thompson, grapples with. It’s a film that deals with race, gender, identity, and sexuality, and it’s received positive reviews following its recent Sundance premiere.
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Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) meet in the restaurant of a posh New York hotel, spotting each other from across the room. Irene mistakes Clare for a stranger at first, but as it turns out, the women grew up together. But as Irene looks Clare over during this reunion, she can hardly believe her eyes. Clare is sporting platinum blonde hair, and for a moment – just a moment – Irene thought she was white. But both women are Black – although they can hide it. Both are light-skinned enough that they can, if they want to, pass for white. It’s something we see Irene do briefly at the start – and she doesn’t seem very comfortable doing it, constantly hiding behind her own hat and avoiding eye contact whenever possible. But for Clare, passing has become a way of life. She even has a white husband (Alexander Skarsgard). “Does he…?” Irene asks, before Clare cuts in: “Know?” He doesn’t.
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Actress Rebecca Hall broke out in 2006 in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, and she’s quickly developed a strong career collaborating with talented filmmakers, learning the ropes from the inside. Now she’s ready to make her directorial debut with an adaptation of a 1920s novel called Passing, which deals with the idea of racial passing – posing as a member of one racial group when you’re actually part of another. That’s a topic that’s still as relevant now as it was in the ’20s, and Hall has locked down two excellent actresses to star in the project: Tessa Thompson (Sorry to Bother You) and Ruth Negga (Preacher).
Learn more about the Passing movie adaptation below. Read More »