The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a drama television film directed by George C. Wolfe and starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. It is based on the book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot and documents the story of Henrietta Lacks, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s, and whose cancer cells (later known as HeLa) would change the course of cancer treatment. The film premiered on HBO on April 22, 2017.
|The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks|
|Based on||The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks|
by Rebecca Skloot
|Screenplay by||Peter Landesman|
George C. Wolfe
|Directed by||George C. Wolfe|
Renée Elise Goldsberry
Courtney B. Vance
Reg E. Cathey
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producers||Alan Ball|
Lydia Dean Pilcher
|Cinematography||Sofian El Fani|
|Running time||1 hour and 32 minutes|
|Production companies||Your Face Goes Here Entertainment|
- Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks
- Rose Byrne as Rebecca Skloot
- Renée Elise Goldsberry as Henrietta Lacks
- Courtney B. Vance as Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield
- Reg E. Cathey as Zakariyya Lacks
- Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Dr. Pattillo
- Leslie Uggams as Sadie
- Reed Birney as Dr. George Gey
- John Douglas Thompson as Lawrence Lacks
- Adriane Lenox as Barbra Lacks
- Roger Robinson as Day Lacks
- Rocky Carroll as Sonny Lacks
- Kyanna Simone Simpson as Teenage Deborah Lacks
The film was announced on May 2, 2016 with Alan Ball and Oprah Winfrey as executive producers. George C. Wolfe would direct the film, with Winfrey taking the role of Lacks' daughter Deborah. In July, Rose Byrne was cast as Rebecca Skloot, the author of the book about Henrietta, who befriends Deborah while reporting on her mother's life, and Renée Elise Goldsberry was cast as the titular Henrietta Lacks. The core supporting cast was rounded out in August 2016, with Courtney B. Vance, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Reg E. Cathey and Leslie Uggams amongst them. After several weeks of shooting in Atlanta, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks began filming in Baltimore in September, 2016. Two of Henrietta Lacks's sons, Zakariyya and Sonny, were consultants on the film.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with Winfrey's performance gaining high praise. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 65%, based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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