According to BlackFilm, HBO has released a teaser trailer to the Oprah Winfrey vehical “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” on Saturday, April 22 at 8:00pm ET/PT. Based on Rebecca Skloot’s best-seller, George C. Wolfe wrote the screenplay and directed the film. HBO picked up the rights to the film back in 2010.
Winfrey will also serve as an exec producer on the film, along with Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Carla Gardini and Lydia Dean Pilcher. Skloot will serve as a co-exec producer. Co-starring with Winfrey will be Rose Byrne will play Skloot, a young journalist who, in her efforts to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks and her “immortal” cells, forms a close bond with Deborah, and Tony Award winner and “Hamilton” actress Renée Elise Goldsberry, who plays the title character. Other cast members include Courtney B. Vance, Leslie Uggams, Rocky Carroll, Rose Byrne, Reg E. Cathey, Reed Birney, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Douglas Thompson, Adriane Lenox, Kyanna Simone Simpson and Roger Robinson.
“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, played by 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.
In speaking with EW, Wolfe states, “The book connects the epic with the intimate, and that’s the movie’s ambition. 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.”
Henrietta Lacks’ sons Zakariyya Rahman and David Lacks, Jr. and granddaughter Jeri Lacksare serve as consultants on the HBO project.