The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks — the 2010 nonfiction bestseller described by The New York Times writer Dwight Garner as “one of the most graceful and moving nonfiction books I’ve read in a very long time” — is being adapted for film by HBO. According to Entertainment Weekly, the premiere date is set for April 22. The movie will star Oprah Winfrey as Lacks’s daughter, Deborah, and Rose Byrne as the book’s science journalist author, Rebecca Skloot.
Skloot’s debut tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor, black woman with cervical cancer whose cells were taken without her permission. Later called HeLa cells, they were used as the basis for valuable medical research, including the development of the polio vaccine, cloning, and more. George C. Wolfe, the film’s adaptor and director, told Entertainment Weekly:
“The book connects the epic with the intimate. 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.”
Catch The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on HBO at 8pm, April 22.
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