As chaotic as the past few months has been, new film Zola fits in perfectly. Born out of a 2015 viral Twitter thread that began, “You wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense,” it’s a movie as tumultuous as the year we’ve faced.
After premiering at Sundance in 2020, the first sneak peek of Zola is here, and it delivers on its wild premise. The film tells the bizarre and other-worldly story that takes place of 48 hours in Tampa.
Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King (@_zolarmoon on Twitter) introduced the world to her (true!) story via a 148-tweet saga (which you can read in full here). In it, Zola recounts how she and a fellow stripper named Jessica struck up a friendship and planned a weekend trip to Florida to make money dancing. As the trip unfolded though, their friendship and holiday quickly derailed by surprise guests, a suicide attempt and even a murder.
Check out the first trailer below:
The project was directed by Janicza Bravo, who co-wrote the script with playwright Jeremy O. Harris. Taylour Paige stars as Zola, while Riley Keough plays Stefani, a character renamed from the thread’s original Jessica. Nicholas Braun takes on the role of Stefani’s emotionally distraught boyfriend Derrek (Garrett in the Twitter thread), while Colman Domingo plays the secretive X (Z in the thread).
It’s a bizarre premise to base a Hollywood film off a Twitter thread, but as Harris says the cinematic potential was too much to pass up.
“I think that something that’s really interesting about what A’ziah tweeted was that, everyone who read that Twitter thread had their own movie that they made in their head,” he told IndieWire. “Black Twitter said it was ‘The Thotyssey.’ And that compared A’ziah to Homer. Like, to our earliest epic poem. And so, I was like, I wanna read it like it’s Homer or Toni Morrison or Stephen King, even, you know?”
There’s no word on a release date just yet, but as the trailer says it’s “coming soon”.