Oprah Winfrey will star in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, an HBO movie based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Rebecca Skloot. This has been a passion project for the TV mogul and Oscar-nominated actress who six years ago teamed with Six Feet Under and True Blood creator Alan Ball to produce a feature-length adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s then-recently published nonfiction bestseller though HBO Films, which acquired the book for the duo. Winfrey has now upped her involvement by committing to star in the movie.
While no premiere date has been set, filming is expected to begin this summer.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is about an African-American woman whose cells were harvested without her permission and used to produce the first immortal human cell line. Winfrey will play her daughter, Deborah Lacks, who tells the story in the movie, which will follow her search to learn about the mother she never knew. She also seeks to understand how the collection of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to medical breakthroughs.The story touches on medical privacy, race, poverty and relationships.
The book, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, which took more than a decade to research and write, instantly hit the New York Times bestseller list when it was published in February 2010 and remained there for more than four years.