Oprah Winfrey will star in HBO Films’ The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, based on the best-selling book of the same name. Filming will begin this summer. George C. Wolfe will direct from his screenplay. Winfrey, Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Carla Gardini and Lydia Dean Pilcher will executive produce.
The book 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, whom Winfrey will play, 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.
Media titan Winfrey’s performing roles include Selma, The Color Purple and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
The production comes from Your Face Goes Here Entertainment, Harpo Films and Cine Mosaic. Henrietta Lacks’ sons David Lacks, Jr. and Zakariyya Rahman, and granddaughter Jeri Lacks, are consultants. Author Skloot will co-executive produce the film.