or


[04/03/17 - 08:01 AM]
HBO Films' "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" Debuts April 22
Oprah Winfrey, Rose Byrne and Renée Elise Goldsberry star in the original movie.

[via press release from HBO]

OPRAH WINFREY, ROSE BYRNE, RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY STAR IN HBO FILMS' THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, DEBUTING APRIL 22

Directed By George C. Wolfe; Screenplay By Peter Landesman And Alexander Woo And George C. Wolfe; Based On The Book By Rebecca Skloot

Reg E. Cathey, Rocky Carroll, Courtney B. Vance, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Leslie Uggams Co-Star

Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Oprah Winfrey, Carla Gardini, Lydia Dean Pilcher Executive Produce; Rebecca Skloot Co-Executive Produces

In 1951, a vibrant African-American woman was dying of cervical cancer at age 31. Under the bright lights of an operating room, surgeons harvested cells from her tumor that would prove to be astonishingly immortal and would change the face of medicine forever. Yet she, and any recognition of her involuntary donation, would long remain unknown.

HBO Films' THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS is her story, as told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (Oprah Winfrey). Aided by journalist Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), Deborah sets out to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Henrietta's (Renée Elise Goldsberry) cancerous cells led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, creating a medical revolution that changed countless lives. It's a true story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest of people.

Debuting SATURDAY, APRIL 22 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT), THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS stars Oprah Winfrey, Rose Byrne, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Reg E. Cathey, Rocky Carroll, Courtney B. Vance, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Leslie Uggams. Directed by George C. Wolfe from a screenplay by Peter Landesman and Alexander Woo and Wolfe, the film is based on the book by Rebecca Skloot. Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Oprah Winfrey, Carla Gardini and Lydia Dean Pilcher executive produce; Rebecca Skloot co-executive produces.

The additional cast includes Reed Birney, Adriane Lenox, Roger Robinson and John Douglas Thomas.

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS is a Harpo Films, Your Face Goes Here Entertainment and Cine Mosaic production.

The film will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.

ABOUT THE STORY

Henrietta Lacks grew up a tobacco farmer from Virginia and, in 1951, was a married mother of five when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 31. Under treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, tissue from her malignant tumor was removed without her knowledge or that of her family, as was standard practice of the day. Her tissue was given to Dr. George Gey, who, at Johns Hopkins, had been trying for nearly 30 years to grow an immortal cell line. Scientists around the world had been making similar efforts with cell lines for decades in order to do human testing that was impossible to do on living human beings.

Up until this time, no one was able to grow human cells in the culture of a petri dish. However, Lacks' cells, multiplying at a feverish pace and accelerating the deadly cancer inside her body, continued to grow, inexplicably - one might say, miraculously - and multiply outside her body in laboratory conditions. What started as a doctor's curiosity led to the birth of the biomedical industry and the use of what was known as HeLa cells in tens of thousands of research studies over the years, from the development of drugs for polio, leukemia, influenza and Parkinson's disease, to cloning and gene mapping, to their inclusion in the first space missions to study the impact of zero gravity on human cells. Lacks' cells have been bought and sold by the billions and continue to exist and multiply today.

Science journalist Rebecca Skloot spent ten years researching the story behind the HeLa cells, trying to bring Lacks' story to light. Her 2010 New York Times bestseller, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," not only explains the scientific background of Lacks' story, but follows her efforts to win the trust of the Lacks family and join Henrietta's daughter, Deborah, as they set out to discover the woman whose silent contribution changed the world.

ABOUT THE FILM

Multiple Tony Award winner, DGA winner and Emmy(R) nominee George C. Wolfe brings the book to the screen, based on an adaptation of the story.

"The book is massive," explains Wolfe. "Massive emotionally, intellectually; it's a science book and it's an intimate book about families and race in America and economics and power. All these things are juggled in fascinating and interesting ways."

Executive producer and star Oprah Winfrey became intrigued by the book before it was even published. Aware of the competitive bidding for the film rights while it was still in galley form, she called Rebecca Skloot to express her recognition of and appreciation for the ten years' worth of determination it took for the young writer to get Henrietta Lacks' story told.

Says Winfrey, "Had she not had the conviction to stay with the story, we still wouldn't know about Henrietta; the world would not know about her story. Rebecca was able to put it within a context that the world could receive and understand, and now, we've taken it to the next level."

Originally, Winfrey did not see herself participating in the project as an actor, because she couldn't fully relate to the character of Henrietta's daughter, Deborah. That changed when director Wolfe took a hand to the script.

For the screenplay, Wolfe decided to focus on Deborah Lacks' determined quest to revisit her mother's past, having lost her at age two, as well as her relationship with Rebecca Skloot, the eager young journalist who instigated her search.

Says Wolfe, "The story is about loss and identity, the power of knowing your own story and how it manifests itself inside of you. It's about the desire to know so that you can be a more complete human being."

"It wasn't until I saw George's breakdown of the script in such a way that I understood it was actually about a daughter in search of her mother," explains Winfrey. "It's about a daughter who is, really, in search of her mother's love and connection in order to validate, verify and affirm for herself that she was loved. Knowing that part of the story is what allowed me to take it on."

Several members of the Lacks family served as consultants on the film, including Henrietta Lacks' children, Zakariyya Bari Abdul Rahman and David Lacks, Jr., and grandchildren, Jeri Lacks Whye, Alfred Carter, Jr. and La Tonya Carter.

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS was filmed in and around Atlanta and in Baltimore, including an entrance to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where the real-life Henrietta Lacks entered and touched the foot of the huge religious statue in its atrium 65 years before.

The film's talented crew includes: costume designer Paul Tazewell, casting director Cindy Tolan, music composer Branford Marsalis, editor Aaron Yanes, production designer Caroline Hanania and director of photography Sofian El Fani.

Written by Rebecca Skloot, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly six years and was the 2011 winner of the National Academies Communication Award for creative work that helps the public understanding of topics in science, engineering or medicine. Originally published by Crown Publishing in 2010, it has been translated into more than 25 foreign-language editions, has been added as an educational tool to school curriculums, and will be reissued in April in conjunction with the debut of the HBO Films drama.

THE CAST

Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks, Henrietta Lacks' charismatic, complicated daughter.

Rose Byrne as Rebecca Skloot, a young journalist who, in her effort to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks and her "immortal" cells, forms a close bond with Henrietta's daughter, Deborah. Skloot's quest resulted in her New York Times bestselling book "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

Renée Elise Goldsberry as Henrietta Lacks, a young Baltimore woman whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951. HeLa cells became one of the most important tools in modern medicine.

Rocky Carroll as Sonny Lacks, Henrietta Lacks' third child and Deborah's older brother.

Courtney B. Vance as Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield, a slick southern lawyer who tries to insert himself into the Lacks' quest for knowledge and acknowledgment.

Reg E. Cathey as Zakariyya, Henrietta Lacks' youngest child and Deborah Lacks' brother.

Reed Birney as Dr. George Gey, who harvested HeLa cells from Henrietta Lacks.

Leslie Uggams as Sadie, Henrietta Lacks' best friend and cousin.

John Benjamin Hickey as Bill Watson, Rebecca Skloot's editor.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Dr. Pattillo, a doctor and professor of gynecology from Morehouse School of Medicine, whom Rebecca Skloot must first impress in order to gain access to the Lacks family.

Byron Jennings as Dr. Victor McKusick, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins.

John Douglas Thompson, as Lawrence, Henrietta Lacks' oldest son and Deborah's older brother.

Roger Robinson as Day Lacks, Henrietta Lacks' widower and father to all their children.

Adriane Lenox as Barbara, Lawrence's wife, who pulled Deborah, Sonny and Zakariyya from their Aunt Ethel and Uncle Galen's home and finished raising them.

Gabriel Ebert as Dr. Christoph Lengauer, who first shows HeLa cells to the Lacks family.

Peter Gerety as Paul Lurz, an administrator at Crownsville Hospital.

John Beasley as Henrietta Lacks' cousin, Cliff, from Clover, Va.

Kyanna Simone Simpson as young Deborah Lacks, Henrietta Lacks' daughter.





  [april 2017]  
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
      


· IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, THE (HBO)





[04/24/17 - 06:05 PM]
TLC Breaks Record Ratings on Sunday Night with Veteran Series and Premiere of Live Television Event
TLC spins the numbers for Sunday, April 23.

[04/24/17 - 06:01 PM]
NBC Drops "Powerless" from Thursdays; "Superstore" to Fill Entire Hour
Look for repeats at 8:00/7:00c followed by original installments at 8:30/7:30c.

[04/24/17 - 04:21 PM]
Tarek and Christina El Moussa Will Return for New Season of Hit HGTV Series "Flip or Flop" in December
Five of the 20 episodes are currently in post-production, with filming of the remaining episodes continuing through the fall.

[04/24/17 - 04:15 PM]
Freeform's "Famous In Love" Amasses Over 10 Million Total Views During Its Premiere Week as "Pretty Little Liars" Returns at No. 1 Across Target Demos
Freeform further spins the numbers for Tuesday, April 18.

[04/24/17 - 12:35 PM]
"Fargo" Returns Strong with Third Installment Premiere - Premiere Telecast Delivers 3 Million Total Viewers
FX further spins the numbers for Wednesday, April 19.

[04/24/17 - 12:05 PM]
"Mommy Dead and Dearest," A True-Crime Murder Story Exploring One of Psychology's Most Controversial Conditions, Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, Debuts May 15, Exclusively on HBO
Erin Lee Carr ("Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop") returns to HBO to explore another true-crime story in the age of social media.

[04/24/17 - 12:00 PM]
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents "Alabama Week"
"Alabama Week" will feature nightly segments shot on location in cities and towns across the state including Selma, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Mobile and Montgomery.

[04/24/17 - 11:15 AM]
HBO Celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month with Premiere of "HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries"
Exploring a range of controversial issues, the award-winning shorts examine crime, addiction and family turmoil within the APA community.

[04/24/17 - 09:38 AM]
ESPN's & ABC's NBA Playoffs Ratings Up Double-Digits in Second Weekend
ESPN spins the numbers for its NBA postseason coverage to date.

[04/24/17 - 09:17 AM]
Disney-ABC Television Announces More Than 160 ABC Stations Signed to Launch Over-the-Top Services Through Its Groundbreaking Clearinghouse Initiative
The vast majority of stations are now opted into one or more new internet-delivered programming services from DirecTV Now, Sony PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV and/or CenturyLink.

[04/24/17 - 09:13 AM]
"Vice News Tonight" Presents a Special Edition on the Trump Presidency This Friday, April 28
This week's edition of the Emmy(R)-winning weekly news magazine "Vice" will debut later that same evening, at 11:00/10:00c.

[04/24/17 - 09:06 AM]
"Mike Tyson Mysteries" Season Three Premieres on Adult Swim Sunday, May 14th at 11:30pm E/P
Highlights include: a retelling of the team's Very First Mystery!

[04/24/17 - 09:05 AM]
Hallmark Channel Renews "When Calls the Heart" for Season Five
The series boasts a passionate fan base known as the #Hearties, who have become a social media phenomenon, making "When Calls the Heart" one of the network's most social series.

[04/24/17 - 08:36 AM]
EPIX to Premiere Original Documentary "Straight/Curve"
Also upcoming on EPIX is the previously-announced comedy special, "Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally - Summer of 69: No Apostrophe," which will debut on Friday, May 19.

[04/24/17 - 08:28 AM]
Sunday's Broadcast Ratings: NBC, "Little Big Shots" Top Demo Charts
The Peacock wins the night among adults 18-49 while CBS is the most-watched network.