Towelhead: According to Variety, American Beauty scribe and "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball has used his own coin to option Towelhead, a provocative debut novel by Alicia Erian to be published in April by Simon & Schuster.

Ball will write the script and hopes to make his feature directing debut on the film, once he wraps the fifth season of his HBO show next June.

Ball, who won an Oscar for his first feature script, American Beauty, has written two subsequent pictures while exec producing the HBO series. He hasn't shopped them because he is determined to direct them.

Ball dropped everything after he got an early look at "Towelhead," a book that mixes the sex drive of the underage with the repressed desires of adults.

Set during the Gulf War, the book is a coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl who must navigate a sexual obsession with a bigoted Army reservist under the oppressive eye of her Lebanese father.

"I'd hoped to do something with my other scripts, but I fell in love with this beautiful book and took it off the market myself," said Ball, who has directed five episodes of "Six Feet Under" and will helm another this season. "I think the book is so good that it will create a sensation when it is published next April, and my goal is to have the script ready to go at the same time.."