Netflix to nab Rebecca Hall’s Sundance hit Passing
Staff Reporter | On 04, Feb 2021
Netflix is reportedly close to closing a sizeable deal for Rebecca Hall’s Sundance hit Passing.
The film, which is based on Nella Larsen’s acclaimed 1929 Harlem Renaissance novel, follows Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson), an upper-class 1920s woman, and Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga), who was in high school with her. While both are African-American women who can “pass” as white, they have chosen to live on opposite sides of the colour line in New York, and their renewed acquaintance sets in motion a psychological thriller about obsession, the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities and the pursuit of authenticity and happiness while navigating the grinding tensions of American racism.
The film premiered at the weekend as part of the US Dramatic Competition lineup for Sundance’s virtual 2021 edition. With Thompson and Negga both receiving acclaim for their performances, supported by André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård and Bill Camp, Hall’s directorial debut looked set for a notable sale, and Netflix is unsurprisingly at the front of that queue. Deadline reports that the streamer has seen off competition from four other bidders and is near to a $16 million deal that would give it the worldwide rights for the movie.
The deal marks the second major streaming sale from this year’s Sundance line-up, with Apple TV+ paying a record amount to nab the rights to Sian Heder’s CODA. Netflix, meanwhile, is no stranger to making waves at Sundance, having previously picked up a plethora of titles, including The Forty-Year-Old Version, The Social Dilemma and His House from last year’s fest.