Actress Rebecca Hall is taking her talents behind the camera to make her directorial debut with Passing, an adaptation of the 1929 best-selling novel. Nella Larsen’s Harlem Renaissance novel explores the phenomenon of racial “passing,” a term classifying a person of one racial demographic who is accepted by another.
The film will encompass provocative themes surrounding race and gender, and to honor Larsen’s legacy, Hall has recruited a team of kick-ass women. Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga will star in the lead roles, with Margot Hand of Picture Films producing and Angela Robinson executive producing. Hall also wrote the script for the movie.
Passing is the story of two reunited high school friends who become obsessed with each other’s lives, threatening their carefully planned-out realities. Negga stars as Clare Kendry, who attempts to pass as a white woman, with Thompson as Irene Redfield.
In a statement to Deadline, Hall explained her own personal ties to the story:
I came across the novel at a time when I was trying to reckon creatively with some of my personal family history, and the mystery surrounding my biracial grandfather on my American mother’s side. In part, making this film is an exploration of that history, to which I’ve never really had access.
Hall recently starred in the Robinson’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Thompson can currently be seen in the Boots Riley film Sorry to Bother You and will appear alongside Michael B. Jordan in Creed II. Negga, who stars in AMC’s Preacher, received an Oscar for her portrayal of Mildred Loving in the biopic Loving and is set to star in James Gray’s sci-fi film Ad Astra with Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones.