HBO has announced that its upcoming telefilm “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will premiere on Saturday, April 22, at 8:00pm. The film is based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot about the title woman, who was being treated for cervical cancer in 1951 and had her cells harvested without her knowledge, creating an immortal cell line that is still being used for medical research. She died at age 31.
The film is told from the point of view of Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah Lacks (Oprah Winfrey), who searches for the truth about her mother with the help of journalist Skloot (Rose Byrne). Winfrey, who is also an executive producer, is best known for her self-titled daytime talk show, for which she won numerous Daytime Emmys. She also won a Primetime Emmy in 2000 for producing the telefilm “Tuesdays with Morrie.” Additionally she earned two Oscar nominations: one for her supporting role in “The Color Purple” (1985) and another for producing “Selma” (2014).
Byrne earned a pair of Emmy nominations for Best Drama Supporting Actress for “Damages” (2009-2010). And playing Henrietta Lacks herself is Renee Elise Goldsberry, a recent Tony and Grammy winner for her role in Broadway’s mega-hit musical “Hamilton.” The film is written and directed by George C. Wolfe, who earned a previous Emmy nom for directing the telefilm “Lackawanna Blues” (2005), but Wolfe is also known for his work on stage, where he has won multiple Tonys as a director and producer of shows including “Angels in America” and “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk.”
Are you excited for the new film? Comment below, or discuss this and more in our famous forums.