The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (film)

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (film).jpg
Based onThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Screenplay byPeter Landesman
Alexander Woo
George C. Wolfe
Directed byGeorge C. Wolfe
StarringOprah Winfrey
Rose Byrne
Renée Elise Goldsberry
Courtney B. Vance
Reg E. Cathey
Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Leslie Uggams
ComposerBranford Marsalis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producersAlan Ball
Carla Gardini
Peter Macdissi
Lydia Dean Pilcher
Oprah Winfrey
ProducerKathryn Dean
CinematographySofian El Fani
EditorAaron Yanes
Running time1 hour and 32 minutes
Production companiesYour Face Goes Here Entertainment
Harpo Films
Cine Mosaic
DistributorHBO
Release
Original networkHBO
Original release
  • April 22, 2017 (2017-04-22)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a drama television film directed by George C. Wolfe and starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. It is based on the book of the same name by Rebecca Skloot and documents the story of Henrietta Lacks, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s, and whose cancer cells (later known as HeLa) would change the course of cancer treatment. The film premiered on HBO on April 22, 2017.[1]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was announced on May 2, 2016 with Alan Ball and Oprah Winfrey as executive producers. George C. Wolfe would direct the film, with Winfrey taking the role of Lacks' daughter Deborah.[2] In July, Rose Byrne was cast as Rebecca Skloot, the author of the book about Henrietta, who befriends Deborah while reporting on her mother's life,[3] and Renée Elise Goldsberry was cast as the titular Henrietta Lacks.[4] The core supporting cast was rounded out in August 2016, with Courtney B. Vance, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Reg E. Cathey and Leslie Uggams amongst them.[5] After several weeks of shooting in Atlanta, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks began filming in Baltimore in September, 2016.[6][7] Two of Henrietta Lacks's sons, Zakariyya and Sonny, were consultants on the film.[8]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with Winfrey's performance gaining high praise. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 65%, based on 31 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10.[9] On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2017
Black Reel Awards for Television Outstanding Television Movie or Limited Series Nominated [11]
Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Limited Series Oprah Winfrey Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor, TV Movie or Limited Series Reg E. Cathey Nominated
Outstanding Directing, TV Movie/Limited Series George C. Wolfe Nominated
Outstanding Writing, TV Movie/Limited Series Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Motion Picture Nominated [12]
Best Actress in a Motion Picture or Limited Series Oprah Winfrey Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie Oprah Winfrey, Carla Gardini, Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi,
Lydia Dean Pilcher, Rebecca Skloot, and Kathryn Dean
Nominated [13]
2018
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Film – Non-Theatrical Release Cindy Tolan, Meagan Lewis, and Daniel Cabeza Nominated [14]
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie Made for Television Nominated [15]
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Miniseries George C. Wolfe Nominated [16]
Gracie Awards Made for TV Movie Won [17]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Nominated [18]
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Oprah Winfrey Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special Peter Landesman, Alexander Woo, and George C. Wolfe Nominated
NAMIC Vision Awards Original Movie or Special Won [19]
Best Performance – Drama Oprah Winfrey Won
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated [20]
USC Scripter Awards Television Peter Landesman, Alexander Woo, and George C. Wolfe (screenwriters); Rebecca Skloot (author) Nominated [21]
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Adapted Peter Landesman, Alexander Woo, and George C. Wolfe;
Based on the book by Rebecca Skloot
Nominated [22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Agard, Chancellor (February 14, 2017). "Oprah Winfrey's Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks gets HBO premiere date". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 2, 2016). "Oprah Winfrey To Star In HBO Films' 'The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Petski, Denise (July 15, 2016). "Rose Byrne Joins Oprah Winfrey In HBO Films' 'The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Petski, Denise (July 25, 2016). "Renée Elise Goldsberry Cast In HBO Films' 'The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  5. ^ Pedersen, Erik (August 11, 2016). "Courtney B. Vance, Leslie Uggams, 7 Others Join Oprah Winfrey In HBO's 'Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Mayhugh, Jess (September 21, 2016). "Oprah's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" Films in Baltimore This Week". Baltimore Magazine. Rosebud Entertainment. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  7. ^ Britto, Brittany (September 21, 2016). "Oprah Winfrey spotted in Baltimore as 'Henrietta Lacks' movie films in city". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore Sun Media Group. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  8. ^ Shechet Epstein, Sonia. "Sloan Science & Film". Sloan Science & Film. Museum of the Moving Image. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  9. ^ "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  11. ^ "Black Reel Awards for TV – Past Nominees & Winners by Category". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  12. ^ "21st Annual Television Awards (2016-17)". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "2018 Artios Awards". www.castingsociety.com. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (January 11, 2018). "'Shape of Water,' 'Big Little Lies,' 'Handmaid's Tale' Top Critics' Choice Awards". Variety. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  16. ^ "70th DGA Awards". Directors Guild of America Awards. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "2018 Gracies Gala Winners". Gracie Awards. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  18. ^ THR Staff (20 November 2017). "NAACP Image Awards: 'Marshall,' 'Get Out,' 'Girls Trip' Dominate Film Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  19. ^ "2018 NAMIC Vision Awards – Winners". namic.com. Retrieved September 11, 2022.
  20. ^ "2017 Satellite Awards". Satellite Awards. International Press Academy. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Past Scripter Awards". USC Scripter Award. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  22. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (December 7, 2017). "Writers Guild Award TV Nominations: 'The Americans,' 'Handmaid's Tale,' 'GLOW' Grab Multiple Mentions". Variety. Retrieved December 7, 2017.

External links[edit]