Hamilton star lands title role in Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Renée Elise Goldsberry joins Oprah Winfrey in the HBO biopic
Hamilton star Renée Elise Goldsberry’s roles are multiplying.
The actress known for her Tony-winning performance as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway hit is set to play the title character in HBO’s biopic The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, EW can confirm. The news comes on the heels of Goldsberry joining the cast of Netflix’s sci-fi series Altered Carbon earlier this month.
Goldsberry will star opposite Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne in Immortal Life, based on Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 nonfiction book. Seen through the eyes of Lacks’ daughter Deborah (Winfrey), the film is to tell the story of the onetime tobacco farmer whose cancerous tissue was harvested by doctors without her knowledge or permission in 1951, becoming the source of the first human cells ever to survive and thrive in a laboratory.
Over the past six decades, Lacks’ cells have led to treatments for diseases including polio, cancer, and AIDs, but their use has also raised bioethical dilemmas about consent and compensation, not to mention social issues like race and class.
Playwright and director George C. Wolfe wrote the adaptation of Skloot’s book and will call the shots, and Winfrey is serving as an executive producer. Several of Lacks’ descendants are consultants on the project.
Deadline first reported Goldsberry’s casting.