Chalk another amazing acting gig up to Oprah Winfrey. After years of running her own talk show, magazine, and now television networks, the powerhouse and businesswoman signed on for another acting gig to add to her amazing resume. On Monday it was announced that Oprah Winfrey will be starring in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Based on the best-selling book by Rebecca Skloot, the movie will feature Winfrey in one of the film’s starring roles. But who is Oprah Winfrey playing in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks? It turns out that her role will be a sizable one.
The movie, like the book, will tell the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who developed cancer and whose cells were used for decades for medical research. Her cells are considered to be the first of their kind and were used to create the first immortal human cell line. But the story isn’t as simple as medical discoveries and happy advancements. It’s a complicated story, one that’s made even more nuanced by the fact that Henrietta Lacks’ cells were taken without authorization. But her cells have gone on to lead a number of medical breakthroughs.
The book was a hit, making its way into the hands of book clubs and best-of lists around the world, and part of what made the book so amazing was the voice. Told through the perspective of Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah Lacks, the story of something as small as human cells is personalized and made real by her moving story. And it turns out that Winfrey will have a significant role in personalizing the film as well, because she is set to play Deborah Lacks as she discovers how her mother’s cancerous cells were harvested from her body without authorization.
I’m sure that with Oprah Winfrey at the helm, I’m sure this complicated story will be made even more incredible. Winfrey is also set to executive produce the film and acquired the books rights back in 2010 with Harpo Films.