“We’re all of us passing for something or other,” Tessa Thompson opines in the new trailer for “Passing.” An adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut sees two Black women — both of whom are able to “pass” as white — navigating race, racism, deception, jealousy, and marriage.
Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga) grew up together and reconnect as adults in the spot. A lot has changed since childhood: both women are married, and Clare has been living as a white woman, complete with a racist white husband (Alexander Skarsgard).
After the reunite, the women grow closer and Clare spends more and more time in the Black world. “I do what I want more than anything right now. I come up here to live,” she says of her visits to Irene and her family. Clare believes Irene has the “perfect” life, while Irene is envious of Clare’s beauty and ability to fit in anywhere.
“You’d think they’d be satisfied being white,” Irene remarks, seemingly referring to Clare and other Black folks who choose to live as white. “Who’s satisfied being anything?” Irene’s husband (André Holland) replies.
“Passing” premiered at Sundance in January, where it was acquired by Netflix for $15 million. It will screen at the New York Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival in October.
Hall also wrote the screenplay for “Passing.” “The Night House” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” are among the “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” actress’ recent on-screen credits.
Thompson’s credits include “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Westworld,” and “Little Woods.” She will reprise her role as Valkyrie in next year’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Thompson is also working on adaptations of Nnedi Okorafor’s “Who Fears Death” and Deesha Philyaw’s “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” under her production company’s first-look deal with HBO/HBO Max.
Negga received an Oscar nomination for her lead performance in “Loving.” “Ad Astra,” and “Preacher” are also among her credits. You can catch her as the narrator of music doc “Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché,” which has been making the festival rounds and has secured distribution. Next, she’s set to portray chanteuse Josephine Baker in a limited series from Dee Harris-Lawrence and Millicent Shelton.
“Passing” opens in select theaters October 27 and launches on Netflix November 10.