Super-not-so-shocking news today: Dakota Fanning is about to sign on to play another kid with a dark life. Variety reports that she is in negotiations, along with Alicia Keys, for the upcoming drama The Secret Life of Bees -- which has already nabbed the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, and Sophie Okonedo. Gina Prince-Bythewood, who wrote and directed Love & Basketball, adapted Sue Monk Kidd's bestselling novel, and will direct it when shooting begins in January in North Carolina. (I guess the South Carolinian book locale was too pricey to shoot in.)

Set in the 1964 south, the year the Civil Rights Act came to be, the film will focus on Lily (Fanning), a 14-year-old girl who lives with her abusive father and memories of her dead mother. It seems that her mom died when a 4-year-old Lily accidentally shot her during a fight with her husband. Meanwhile, her nanny Rosaleen (Hudson) gets into some trouble with some white men while going to register to vote and has to flee the Georgia town. Lily joins her and the pair run off to South Carolina, which somehow holds secrets about her mom's past. They are then taken in by the "eccentric" Calendar sisters (Latifah, Okonedo, and Keys), who make Black Madonna Honey. So, that's where the bees come in. If this slice of drama sounds interesting, the project has a quick turnaround -- Fox Searchlight plans to release it in 2008.