Winfrey stars alongside Rose Byrne in the movie
Oprah Winfrey is coming to HBO this April: The premium cable network announced Tuesday that The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a film starring Winfrey, debuts Saturday, April 22.
Adapted from Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 book of the same name, the biopic tells the story of Henrietta Lacks (Hamilton‘s Renée Elise Goldsberry), the black woman whose cells — which were harvested without her permission as she lay dying from cancer in 1951 — led to the discovery of the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping. The story is told through the eyes of her daughter Deborah (Winfrey), who teams up with journalist Skloot (Rose Byrne) to learn about the mother she never knew.
“The book connects the epic with the intimate, and that’s the movie’s ambition,” George C. Wolfe, who adapted and directed it the movie, told EW in December. “This woman’s cells helped heal the planet, yet her children were suffering. They didn’t know their mother’s story, even though they were living in the shadows of Johns Hopkins. I found that dichotomy incredibly moving.”
Wolfe found Deborah’s story intriguing because he’s interested in “how people create their own mythologies so they can continue to live.”
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The movie is executive-produced by Winfrey, True Blood‘s Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Carla Gardini, and Lydia Dean Pilcher.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks premieres April 22 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO.