Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga explore race, gender and sexuality in new film 'Passing'

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Sunday, November 7, 2021
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The new drama "Passing" focuses on former childhood friends, both Black, who rekindle their relationship as adults and one discovers the other has been "passing" as white for many years.

HOLLYWOOD -- The new drama "Passing" focuses on former childhood friends, Irene and Clare, played by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, who rekindle their friendship as adults.

Set in 1920s New York City, both are Black women, but Irene discovers Clare has been "passing" as white for many years.

The stars say they had many lengthy discussions with one another, and with director Rebecca Hall, about the concept of who we are and who we present to the world.

"It has so much to do with identity, not just passing in terms of race, but in all the ways in which we pass the mask that we put on," said Thompson.

"We've kinda had been attached to this film (for) quite a number of years beforehand, so I think when you've got projects like that in your orbit, we had quite a few years to sort of fill up our kit bag," said Negga.

"Passing" was made on a tight budget with a short shooting schedule. Fortunately for Tessa and Ruth, they discovered their work styles meshed beautifully.

"Luckily, I think Ruth and I work in a similar way, which is that there should be sense of play on set," said Thompson. "So all of the existential crisis that working on this material might put you through, you see, because we did that when the cameras were rolling," said Thompson.

"Passing" is rated PG-13 and is theaters now. It moves to Netflix Nov. 10.