It's pretty much a big deal any time Oprah Winfrey does anything, but especially when she signs on to a new roles. The super-mogul has been picky about the projects she takes part in, and usually they have a civil rights component, or are focused on an unsung African-American hero. Well both of those aspects certainly apply to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which Winfrey will star in for HBO.
The film is based on Rebecca Skloot's bestselling novel that tells the true story of Lacks, an African-American woman whose cancerous cells were removed by Dr. George Gey without her knowledge in 1951 and used to create the first immortal cell line for medical research. The durable line came to be known as the HeLa line, and was an invaluable part of numerous medical breakthroughs. The line is still used today.
Winfrey will play Lacks' daughter, Deborah, who seeks to learn more about the mother she never knew. Directing the film will be George C. Wolfe (Lackawanna Blues) from his own screenplay. And it looks like the Lacks family will be involved as consultants, adding a layer of authenticity to the project. Filming is set to begin this summer.