We were on hand at the NYC premiere of HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
We caught with the movie’s stars Oprah Winfrey, George C. Wolfe and Renée Elise Goldsberry on the red carpet. Check out our interviews after the jump.
Oprah Winfrey: I do the work. I release the work into the world. And however it lands with you, whatever part, whatever character, whatever scene, whatever moment, if it’s family, if it’s the cells, if it makes you think more about your own family legacy, whatever it does. I’m just creating the story and hope it lands someplace that it leads a heart print.
What about Deborah do you admire most?
Oprah Winfrey: Hmm … what do I admire most about Deborah? Well, that she never gave up. Really! That she never gave up. She never gave up.
Everyone talks about what an amazing actress you are, and since the beginning you’ve always played characters with such a struggle.
Oprah Winfrey: There’s no story without a struggle. And, you know, I honor my own struggle. I honor my own difficulties. I honor my own challenges because I recognize that there is not one thing that has ever happened to anybody that cannot be useful in the future. Because everything that’s happening to you is happening to you as well as for you. So I tell stories with women who have been through turmoil, who’ve had difficulties and challenges, and end up victors in their own heart, in their own way, if not even for the face of the world, but for themselves. You know, if you look at Deborah’s story, people say, “Oh, she died before she got to see what happened.” I know. I certainly do believe in my heart that she died with a sense of peace that the work that she’d come to do, to tell her mother’s story, to get that story done, had been completed. And then she left the planet.
Is there an “aha-moment” that you hope people get from this?
Oprah Winfrey: You know, I learned long ago after doing “Beloved” – and that was not considered successful at the box office – I learned to stop doing things and having an attachment to the outcome. I do the work. I do the work.
Boy, do you!
Oprah Winfrey: I do the work. And then you release the work, and however you see-
Everybody said you were just the perfect ensemble actress. That you came in and were not only the Executive Producer. You were just one of the team, and you were just phenomenal.
Oprah Winfrey: Well, I think, you know, it would be crazy for me- I mean, first of all, even in my own life, in my own kitchen, where I have people to help me and serve me and wait on me and all that stuff, I still am as humble and as kind as I know how to be. So it would be crazy for me to be on a set acting like anything other than myself.