Alan Ball and Oprah Winfrey Join Forces

May 14, 2010 by  

We all know what an amazing job Alan Ball has done with True Blood and what a mega-success it has been for HBO. Well Variety Magazine has just reported that Alan Ball will be teaming up with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films to produce a HBO telepic based on the new bestselling novel, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

The novel is written by Rebecca Skloot and tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, who is a poverty stricken mother of five, living in Baltimore, who died of cervical cancer in 1951 at the age of 31.  Doctors at John Hopkins Hospital removed cancerous cells from her body without her family knowing. That act led to significant breakthroughs in the medical field, ranging from aiding the cure for polio to AIDS treatments.  The book looks at both sides – the groundbreaking science enabled by Lack’s unusual resilient cells and the devastation that her death and the research process had on her family.

The book was published by Crown this past February. Ball received a pre-publication copy last November and then began pursuing the rights shortly after.  Ball had this to say:

“I fell in love with it and I thought it would be a perfect movie for HBO.”

Harpo’s Kate Forte had begun chasing the rights in January after she had read a copy of the book.  Once she and Ball realized they were chasing the same rights and a similar vision for the movie and airing it on HBO, they decided to join forces.  Forte explains:

“Once Alan came aboard, it gave Rebecca the comfort of knowing that she’d found the perfect combination of producers and the perfect home for her story.”

Now that the deal has been sealed with HBO, the partners are on the hunt for a screenwriter. Winfrey, Forte, Ball, and Macdissi, (Alan Ball’s producing partner) will be the executive producers on the film.

Ball is very excited to be working with Oprah Winfrey on this project and the movie is high on HBO’s list due to this extraordinary partnership. Ball predicts:

“This is going to be a journey that we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.”

SOURCE: Variety

(Photo Credit: HBO Inc.)

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