Rebecca Hall revealed a personal link to her directorial debut Passing at Deadline’s Contenders Film: London this morning. Joined on stage by stars Ruth Negga and André Holland, she explained why she adapted Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel. “My mother’s from Detroit and her father was African American and passed for white his whole life. When I read the book, it clicked into place: obviously that’s what my grandfather did — for his family, his children’s life.”
Based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, writer-director Hall’s Passing explores the lives of two mixed-race childhood friends, Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga), who reunite as adults. They become involved in each other’s lives and explore how they diverged due to Irene identifying as Black while Clare “passes” as white. Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp and Gbenga Akinnagbe also star in the film, which premiered at Sundance. Netflix acquired the pic in February for nearly $15 million.
Today, Negga said of her character, “Clare piqued my curiosity because I was half in love with her and half appalled by her. I think I was aghast by the temerity she had to speak her truth and be herself and be ‘too much’, which women are accused of a lot, women of color especially.”
Holland commented on how the film is sadly still relevant. “The thing that really grabbed me is the scene in which Brian and Irene have this debate around race and racial violence and how to talk to their children about such things. It felt like a conversation that could have been written tomorrow.”
Sundance Review: Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga In Rebecca Hall’s ‘Passing’
Check back Monday for the panel video.
‘Passing’ Trailer: Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga Star In Netflix Movie It Landed At Sundance
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