Netflix Nears $16 Million Deal to Acquire ‘Passing’ With Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga

Sundance 2021: Rebecca Hall directed the racial period drama about African Americans who can “pass” as white

Passing Tessa Thompson Ruth Negga Rebecca Hall
Edu Grau/Sundance Institute

Netflix is nearing a $16 million deal to acquire the rights to “Passing,” Rebecca Hall’s period racial drama starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga that premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, according to two insiders with knowledge of the deal.

Hall made her directorial debut on the film that is set in 1920s New York and stars Thompson and Negga as two Black women who have been able to “pass” as white due to their lighter-colored skin.

Hall also wrote the screenplay based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, and the film is shot in a silky black and white. Bill Camp, Alexander Skarsgard and Andre Holland co-star.

TheWrap’s Carlos Aguilar called the film in his review “impressively refined and superbly acted” and compared Hall to another actor turned director, Regina King, writing that “Hall arrives behind the camera fully formed as a storyteller handling thought-provoking subject matter with formidable aesthetic sensibilities.”

News of the potential deal follows Apple’s acquisition of  Sian Heder’s “CODA,” about a hearing girl in a deaf family who joins the school choir, which sparked a heavy bidding war resulting in a whopping $25 million price tag, way more than the $17.5 million that set a record last year for “Palm Springs,” from Hulu and Neon.

“Passing” is produced by Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi, and Margot Hand.

The deal is being brokered by Endeavor Content.

Deadline first reported the news.


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