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Ruth Negga stars in new movie 'Passing' - one of the most anticipated flicks at the Sundance Film Festival

Ruth Negga stars in new movie 'Passing' - one of the most anticipated flicks at the Sundance Film Festival

Ruth Negga stars in new movie 'Passing' - one of the most anticipated flicks at the Sundance Film Festival

Ruth Negga says she jumped at the chance of playing a black woman pretending to be white in her new movie, Passing.

The film is one of the most anticipated at the Sundance Film Festival where it will get its world premiere on Saturday night.

The Limerick-raised actress plays Clare Kendry, a black woman who meets up with childhood friend Irene Redfield, played by Westworld’s Tessa Thompson, years later in New York’s Harlem.

Redfield is stunned to discover that her pal has spent years passing herself off as a white woman and has even married a white racist. Their friendship becomes an obsession which could endanger their futures.

The film is an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing and will be made by Rebecca Hall in her directorial debut.

"It's not that often that you get these scripts, that are so full-blooded and fully-fledged, about two Black women," said Preacher star Negga.

"Clare confounded me and mesmerized me and confused me."

The 39-year-old Love/Hate actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for 2016’s Loving, said she was deeply taken with Larsen's "almost clinical" treatment of the character in the book.

She said she embraced the non-judgmental approach to the wilful, selfish, but still sympathetic character.

"[Larsen] doesn't want her to be a victim or a hero - she wants her to be a human being."

She said she had been intrigued with Larsen’s novel since reading it years before.

Director Hall first approached Negga in 2016 about playing the bigger part of Irene Redfield.

But the Irish star fought to play Clare and dyed her hair and eyebrows blonde for the role.

Hall has called her star “wildly unpredictable and thrilling” and someone who “just hurls herself out there.”

The director said she wanted to make the film because of her personal family history.

Hall’s maternal grandfather was an African-American doorman in Detroit who apparently passed himself off as white when Hall’s mother was a girl.

"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 bi-racial grandfather on my American mother’s side,” Hall said in a statement last year.

“In part, making this film is an exploration of that history, to which I’ve never really had access."

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