×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

George C. Wolfe Hails ‘Brilliant’ Oprah Winfrey at ‘Henrietta Lacks’ Premiere

At Tuesday premiere of HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” Oprah Winfrey’s cast mates could not say enough about the work experience on the movie and the multi-faceted talents of its star and producer.

“Henrietta Lacks” comes as Winfrey has already stepped up her acting work — in addition to running a cable channel, a magazine and sundry other ventures — with a role in OWN’s “Greenleaf” and movies including the upcoming “A Wrinkle in Time” directed by Ava DuVernay.

“Henrietta Lacks” director George C. Wolfe said Winfrey needs to make time for more thespian work. “She needs to do more and more and more and more. She’s brilliant,” Wolfe told Variety before the premiere screening at Manhattan’s SVA Theater.

“Henrietta Lacks” tells the story of an African-American woman who died young and had her cells harvested for years for research that led to astounding breakthroughs in medical science — unbeknownst to her family. To Wolfe, a veteran legit helmer, the story had every ingredient for great drama.

Winfrey plays the titular character’s daughter, Deborah, who discovered her late mother’s storied history and battled the medical establishment to learn the details.

As soon as Wolfe got a hold of the story, based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot, he became a director on a mission. “I felt ‘Don’t sleep, don’t eat, just do it now,’ ” Wolfe said. He’d been talking to Winfrey about developing a Broadway show together around the time that Winfrey secured the rights to “Immortal Life.”

In addition to hailing Henrietta Lacks’ influence on modern medicine, the larger message of “Immortal Life” is transmitted via Deborah’s determination. “Don’t give up until you know your story.”

The production of “Immortal Life” was something of a family reunion for Wolfe and many of the actors with deep roots in New York theater. Co-star Reg E. Cathey said Winfrey was an exception but fit right in. “Oprah turned out to be the most generous, the most giving, the most prepared — a serious actress,” he said.

Following the screening, the troupe headed south a few blocks for the after-party at Tao Downtown.

(Pictured: “Henrietta Lacks’ ” John Douglas Thompson, Reg E. Cathey, George C. Wolfe, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Oprah Winfrey, Rebecca Skloot, Rose Byrne and Leslie Uggams)

 

More TV

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2' Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV roundup, Netflix has dropped the first trailer for “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Part 2” starring Kiernan Shipka, and former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson has been cast in Fox’s drama pilot “Lovestruck.” CASTING Former “O.C.” star Rachel Bilson is set to play the female lead in Fox’s new drama pilot “Lovestruck.” The [...]

  • Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

    Imagine TV Sets 'Mindscaping' as First China Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Imagine Television is developing “Mindscaping,” a 24-episode science fiction series written by Oscar Yang (“Medical Examiner Dr. Qin,” “The Ten Deadly Sins”). The series is the first Chinese-language series developed by Imagine Television, part of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment group, for a Chinese audience. The show is pitched as an original sci-fi [...]

  • "The Bow Tie Asymmetry" - Pictured:

    Pilot Season 2019: Multi-Camera Comedies Remain in High Demand

    For the second pilot season in a row, multi-camera comedies have proven to be a hot commodity. The Big 4 have collectively ordered 28 comedy pilots this year, including two animated straight-to-series orders at Fox. Of those 28, 12 are single-cams and 13 are multi-cams (including one multi-cam hybrid at ABC and two at CBS). [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Hollywood Agents Warn of Losses to Writers Without Packaging Fees

    The bitter war of words between Hollywood agents and writers continues. Agents are warning that the Writers Guild of America’s proposed elimination of television packaging fees will hurt writers to the tune of $49 million annually in commissions. Sources close to the Association of Talent Agents said Monday that the L.E.K. consulting firm has estimated   [...]

  • UFC 235 Mixed Martial Arts, Las

    All UFC Pay-Per-View Events Moving to ESPN+ Exclusively in U.S. Through 2025

    The UFC — in a major jump to digital away from traditional pay TV — inked an expanded pact with ESPN under which all of the mixed martial arts promoter’s pay-per-view events will be available exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. for the next seven years. Under the agreement, the ESPN+ subscription streaming service will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content