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Rose Byrne joins Oprah in Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by journalist Rebecca Skloot, will be adapted for the screen by HBO in a new film. While Oprah Winfrey portrays Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, EW has learned Neighbors star Rose Byrne will fill Skloot’s shoes.

George C. Wolfe wrote the screenplay and directs the film, which tells of Deborah’s search to learn about the mother she never knew. Henrietta was an African-American woman whose cells were harvested without her knowledge in 1951 and used to create the first “immortal” line of human cells.

Skloot documented the story in her best-selling book of the same name, which is the product of more than a decade’s worth of research and writing. The writer called Byrne “wonderful” and “talented” in announcing her casting on Twitter.

Filming is scheduled to begin this summer with Winfrey, Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Carla Gardini, and Lydia Dean Pilcher on board as executive producers.

Byrne was last seen reprising her role of Moira Mactaggert in X-Men: Apocalypse, and her sorority-fighting mom before that in Neighbors 2.