HBO has set an April 22 premiere date for its film adaptation of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” An April debut makes it very much eligible for Primtetime Emmy consideration this year (the eligibility period ends May 2017).
Oprah Winfrey stars in this adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed, bestselling nonfiction book of the same name. The film tells the 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 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.
Joining Winfrey in front of the camera are some stellar actors including Renee Elise Goldsberry, 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.
Vance plays Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield, a slick Southern con artist who tries to insert himself into the Lacks’ legal matters; Uggams is Sadie, Henrietta’s cousin and best friend; Cathey plays Zakariyya, Henrietta’s youngest son and Deborah’s (Winfrey) brother; Birney is Dr. George Gey, the scientist who harvested the HeLa cells from Henrietta (Goldsberry); Santiago-Hudson is Dr. Pattillo, a doctor and professor of gynecology who facilitated Rebecca Skloot’s (Byrne) communication with the Lacks family; Thompson plays Lawrence, Henrietta’s oldest son and Deborah’s older brother; Lenox is Barbara, Lawrence’s wife who helped raised Deborah and Sonny (Carroll) after Henrietta’s death; and finally Robinson is Day Lacks, Henrietta’s widower and father of their children.
George C. Wolfe directs from his screenplay adaptation of Skloot’s book.
Oprah Winfrey, Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Carla Gardini and Lydia Dean Pilcher executive produce. A Your Face Goes Here Entertainment, Harpo Films and Cine Mosaic production.
HBO has premiered a first trailer for the telepic which is embedded below: