There’s a lot we owe to Henrietta Lacks, a black woman whose life was cut short in 1951, but not before doctors could harvest some of her cells, “immortal” cells that provided the foundation for staggering medical breakthroughs. Lacks died at 31, leaving behind a daughter, who investigated her mother’s history with the help of journalist Rebecca Skloot. The story became the nonfiction book, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, which has been adapted for film by producers Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, as well as writer-director George C. Wolfe.
This first teaser for the HBO film takes us through some of those chapters, including Lacks’ visit to the hospital, the doctors’ insistence that she not be named (and therefore, never credited) in any of the studies that were done on the cells they illegally harvested, to the way that event still echoes through her daughter Dorothy’s (Winfrey) life. Rose Byrne costars as Skloot, while Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry plays the titular Henrietta.
The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks unfolds April 22 on HBO.