NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Dakota Fanning and Alicia
Keys are in final negotiations to join the cast of "The Secret
Life of Bees," a female-oriented coming-of-age tale based on
the Sue Monk Kidd best-seller.
Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Sophie Okonedo are
already on board the Fox Searchlight project, which is
scheduled to go into production next month in North Carolina.
The studio is planning on a release later in 2008.
"Bees," a drama set in the Southern U.S. in the 1960s,
centers on teenager Lily Owens (Fanning) and her friend
Rosaleen (Hudson) who flee their hometown to escape their harsh
upbringing and seek to uncover the mysteries of Lily's late
mother. Along the way, they encounter three beekeeping sisters
(Latifah, Okonedo, Keys) who take the pair in to their South
Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Love & Basketball") will direct
"Bees" from her own adaptation, which was completed before the
writers strike began last month.
Monk Kidd's novel was a sensation when it was released five
years ago, spending more than two years on the New York Times
Fanning was in theaters a year ago with "Charlotte's Web."
She is set to star opposite Hudson, an Oscar winner for
"Dreamgirls," in the drama "Winged Creatures." Keys made her
feature debut earlier this year as a lesbian hitwoman in the
crime drama "Smokin' Aces." Okonedo starred in "Hotel Rwanda."
Queen Latifah is in theaters with "The Perfect Holiday."