Deadline is reporting that Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Sorry to Bother You) and Ruth Negga (Preacher, Warcraft) have been cast as the leads in Passing, the directorial debut of actress Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women).
Based on Nella Larsen’s Harlem Renaissance novel from 1929, Passing follows the events set off by a reunion of two high school friends named Clare Kendry (Negga) and Irene Redfield (Thompson). Here is the Amazon synopses of the novel:
“Clare Kendry is living on the edge. Light-skinned, elegant, and ambitious, she is married to a racist white man unaware of her African American heritage, and has severed all ties to her past after deciding to “pass” as a white woman. Clare’s childhood friend, Irene Redfield, just as light-skinned, has chosen to remain within the African American community, and is simultaneously allured and repelled by Clare’s risky decision to engage in racial masquerade for personal and societal gain. After frequenting African American-centric gatherings together in Harlem, Clare’s interest in Irene turns into a homoerotic longing for Irene’s black identity that she abandoned and can never embrace again, and she is forced to grapple with her decision to pass for white in a way that is both tragic and telling.”
Hall will direct and has also penned the screenplay adaptation of Passing, with Margot Hand of Picture Films and Oren Moverman of Sight Unseen producing. Angela Robinson will serve as executive producer.
“Rebecca Hall is a brilliant artist who I’ve had the pleasure of working with and I’ve loved the Nella Larson novella, Passing since I first read it many years ago,” said Robinson. “When Rebecca told me about her family history and her passion to tell this story, I immediately signed on to help bring her vision of this incredible book to the screen.”
Thompson is currently filming Sony’s Men in Black spinoff opposite Chris Hemsworth, and will next be seen in the sequel Creed II. Negga will next be seen on the big screen in James Gray’s sci-fi film Ad Astra opposite Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones.
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