Oprah Winfrey will star in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which has been greenlit by HBO Films.
The premium cabler made the announcement on Monday.
Based on Rebecca Skloot’s best-seller, 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. George C. Wolfe will direct and wrote the screenplay.
The project has been in the works for years. First announced in 2010 when Winfrey’s Harpo Films acquired the book rights, the media mogul was attached to produce, alongside Ball, for HBO Films. The project has sat in development, but now with Winfrey attached to star, has been put on the fast-track with filming beginning this summer.
“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.
Henrietta Lacks’ sons Zakariyya Rahman and David Lacks, Jr. and granddaughter Jeri Lacksare will serve as consultants on the HBO project.
Winfrey’s Harpo Films, Ball’s Your Face Goes Here Entertainment and Pilcher’s Cine Mosaic will produce.
No premiere date has been announced.