The film follows the decades-long saga of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cervical cancer cells were used anonymously to change the course of cancer treatment. Winfrey stars as Lacks’ daughter Deborah, who wrestles with the medical ethics surrounding this case.
George C. Wolfe wrote and directed the project, and Winfrey is on board as an executive producer, alongside “True Blood” mastermind Alan Ball. The film also stars Rose Byrne, Courtney B. Vance and “Hamilton” alum Renée Elise Goldsberry. The movie is based on Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 best-selling nonfiction book of the same name.
“The book connects the epic with the intimate, and that’s the movie’s ambition,” Wolfe told Entertainment Weekly, when describing the project. “This woman’s cells helped heal the planet, yet her children were suffering. They didn’t know their mother’s story, even though they were living in the shadows of Johns Hopkins. I found that dichotomy incredibly moving.”
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will premiere on HBO on April 22, just in time for Emmy consideration. Check out the trailer below: