HBO Films announced Oprah Winfrey is set to take on the starring role in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The film is based on Rebecca Skloot’s bestselling book which spent more than four years on the New York Times bestsellers list. Winfrey is also involved as an executive producer along with Alan Ball (True Blood, Six Feet Under), Peter Macdissi (Banshee), Carla Gardini (The Hundred-Foot Journey), and Lydia Dean Pilcher (You Don’t Know Jack). Author Skloot is on board as a co-executive producer and Henrietta Lacks’ sons David Lacks Jr and Zakariyya Rahman as well as her granddaughter Jeri Lacks will be consulting on the film. DGA and Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe (Angels in America, Lackawanna Blues) adapted Skloot’s book and is directing.
Filming is expected to get underway this summer. HBO Films hasn’t announced the premiere date.
The Plot: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (Winfrey), the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever. It’s a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest of people.