'Passing' director Rebecca Hall shares how new film reflects her biracial family

'Passing' is based on a book by Chicago-born Nella Larsen
CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Passing" is a new movie about childhood friends who rediscover each other as adults. Both women are Black, but one is "passing" for white.

Hosea Sanders talks to actress turned first-time director Rebecca Hall about a story that reflects her own biracial family.

"A legacy of 'passing' in any family is necessarily hidden and obscured and a lot of history is erased," Hall said. "It was my grandfather. He was Black and passed white for most of his life."

Hall has been acting since childhood, but was learning to direct the whole time!

"The truth is, being an actor is something I'm good at, and it gave me a lot of rewards and it felt like being a filmmaker, because I could stay on set and play a game of, "What's this going to look like,'" Hall said. "The older I got, the more I realized that the thing that I was doing was sitting on the set and editing a film in my head, that I could actually be doing that."

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Hall continued, "It was very important to me to cast two Black women, and specifically two Black women who the world know and receive to be Black, so that when an audience sits down with the movie and interacts with it, they have a fixed idea about these women's identity."

The phenomenon of "passing" has been known and sort of whispered about, but now people are talking about it openly based on this film.

"I am aware that is happening and I am thrilled," Hall said. "Because that's why you do these things, to start conversations."

The film is based on a book by Chicago-born Nella Larsen, and the Drake inspired a hotel in the story.

"I knew that everyone knows the Drayton to be a stand-in for the Drake Hotel which is in Chicago, so that is my quiet little nod to Chicago," Hall said.

"Passing" just opened in theaters and will stream on Netflix starting Nov. 10. It's already stirring up Oscar buzz!
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