Attention fans of both science and Oprah Winfrey: the trailer (via Deadline) for HBO’s adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is here.
The adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s New York Times best-seller about a black woman whose cells were harvested and used for countless medical innovations including the development of the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization will be told from the point of view of Henrietta Lacks’s daughter, Deborah, played by Oprah who graciously blessed us with the gift of her acting skills in a role Deadline described as a “passion project.”
Rose Byrne plays Skloot with the kind of beguiling concern appropriate for the role and Renee Elise Goldberry stars as Henrietta herself.
The story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells is tragic. She died of cancer in 1951, but her cells were taken during a biopsy and reproduced in a lab. They were the first ever cells to survive and reproduce indefinitely in a laboratory setting and were used for a wide range of medical discoveries without the consent of her or her family. After learning about the cells in a biology class, Skloot discovered that there was no information about Lacks, but her cells –referred to as “HeLa”—were everywhere.
The movie premieres April 22 on HBO and honestly, it looks like it might do Henrietta’s story justice.