Dakota and her grandmother both read Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees before there were talks of a film adaptation. When it was first announced that a movie was being planned, Dakota really wanted to play Lily, but she was still too young. Fortunately, it took a few years to get the movie ready for production, so by the time casting began, Dakota was the perfect age. In fact, she turned 14 on the final day of shooting, and her character celebrated her 14th birthday in the movie. Dakota looks back on it as "perfect timing." Those involved with production for the film have said that Dakota was always their first choice for the role, but again, it all came down to the right timing.