May 2, 2016


Oprah Winfrey to Star in HBO's 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'

Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Oprah Winfrey will mark her 25th official film credit by starring in the forthcoming The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which has has just been greenlit by HBO.

Based on the book by Rebecca Skloot, the film centers on Henrietta Lacks, an impoverished tobacco farmer whose cancer cells were taken for medical research without her knowledge in the 1950s. In something of a miracle, Lacks' cells yielded multiple scientific breakthroughs and proved vital for fighting various diseases, such as Polio. Oprah will star as Henrietta Lacks' daughter, Deborah Lacks, who spends much of her adult life trying to reconnect with the memory of her mother, whom she never met. 

According to Deadline, George C. Wolf (Lackawanna Blues) penned the adaptation's script and is slated to direct the film. Skloot, meanwhile, will co-executive produce alongside Oprah and a glut of other premium TV executives, including Carla Gardini (The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Lydia Dean Pilcher (You Don't Know Jack). Alan Ball, creator of HBO's True Blood and Six Feet Under and an Oscar winner in 2000 for his American Beauty script, is also lending a hand as executive producer. 

While some of Oprah's recent acting credits come in the form of voice-acting—see: The Princess and The Frog or Bee Movie the media empress was nominated for an Oscar for a her performance in 1985's Their Eyes Were Watching God.