The nonfiction book, published in February, focuses on Lacks, a mother of five who died from cervical cancer in 1951 and whose cancerous cells were used for groundbreaking research following her death.
The cells used — removed without her family's knowledge — helped doctor's at John Hopkins develop a cure for polio and contributed to AIDS-related treatment. The book devotes time to both the science behind these discoveries and the effect Lacks' death and the subsequent medical research had on her family.
"I fell in love with it," Ball told Variety of the book."I thought it would be a perfect movie for HBO."