HBO has finally released the first trailer for its upcoming anticipated film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Starring Oprah Winfrey, Rose Byrne and 2016 Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, the made-for-television movie tells the real life story of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cervical cancer cells were used without her knowledge for research that ended up revolutionizing the medical world.
As Verge noted: “In 1951, Lacks had a biopsy taken from her cervix after giving birth. During treatment of a malignant epidermoid carcinoma, her doctors took two samples — one of cancerous cells, and the other healthy — without her knowledge.
The cancerous cells became the basis of an immortal cell line known as HeLa, which have been used across the world for medical research. [Decades after her death,] her children and other family members became aware of the use of her cells.”
Lacks died in 1951 at the young age of 31, but her legacy lived on. The HeLa cells, which were the first human cells to be cloned in US history, have been used to develop the polio vaccine and have been at the center of some of the most cutting-edge cancer, HIV/AIDS and gene mapping research done around the world.
The film is based on the 2010 New York Times best seller book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, written by Rebecca Skloot. It’s told through the eyes of Lacks’ daughter, Deborah Lacks (played by Winfrey), who is desperately trying to uncover who her mother was and what happened to her cells.
Earlier this week, HBO announced that the film will debut on April 22.