Tony Award winner Renee Elise Goldsberry, who recently announced her departure from Hamilton this fall to film and star in new Netflix series Altered Carbon, is staying #booked. The actress was just cast in the title role to star opposite Oprah Winfrey in HBO Films The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Goldsberry will play Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (played by Winfrey), the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.
Based on Rebecca Skloot’s 2011 best-seller, veteran and favorite Broadway Black director-producer George C. Wolfe (Shuffle Along, Angels In America) wrote the adaptation and will direct.
Oprah Winfrey and Carla Gardini executive produce through Harpo Films and Skloot is co-executive producer.
Henrietta Lacks’ sons David Lacks, Jr. and Zakariyya Rahman; her granddaughter Jeri Lacks; and her grandchildren Alfred Carter Jr. and LaTonya Carter are consultants on the project as well.
I remember reading this book the summer between my freshman and sophomore year and being brought to tears because this woman’s life changed medicine forever and at the same time her family was struggling to afford health insurance. Grappling with the idea of what happens to your body, what people can do when you die was haunting me for years. It’s about time this story gets the screen adaption it deserves and we couldn’t be happier that Renee, Oprah, and George get to tell the story.
No premiere date has been announced yet, but keep following Broadway Black for the latest updates.