The memorable @Zolarmoon Twitter thread that had our eyes pasted to our screens in 2015 has been adapted into a movie. A24 debuts a first look trailer for the film, Zola, recalling the captivating story, which stars Boogie’s Taylour Paige releasing this summer. You would have had to be hiding under a rock if you don’t remember the viral Twitter thread that had users refreshing the page anticipating the next part of this thrilling story.
Six years ago, Zola, a stripper (whose real name is Aziah Wells), created a Twitter thread where she posted about a wild and minacious trip she took to Florida with a group of strangers. The story begins with Zola meeting another sex worker named Jessica at their local Hooters. The two instantly hit it off and decided it would be perfect to take an impromptu trip down to Florida to dance at strip clubs where they would certainly make more money. Zola shows up ready for their trip to find Jessica, Jessica’s boyfriend, Jarrett, and Jessica’s “friend,” Z, prepared to join her for the ride. They all hop into the car and head south. Things take a swift turn when Zola finds out Z is actually Jessica’s pimp, and instead of dancing, they would be doing other kinds of sex work. Zola and the captivating Twitter thread tells an exaggerated version of this outlandish tale involving one of the men kidnapping two women, the abusive Z shooting someone and Jarrett almost jumping off of a balcony to his death due to the series of dramatic and traumatic events.
Now, to our knowledge, the first-of-its-kind Twitter thread is headed to theaters this summer. Zola director Janicza Bravo expresses her excitement to retell a story that she says, during the Sundance Film Festival premiere in January 2020, she became immediately obsessed with once the thread entered her group text chain she’s in with her Los Angeles girlfriends. Zola premiered to laughter and applause at Sundance, and it has been described as “an irreverent, sensibility-offending trip for audiences, by Variety’s Peter Debruge who attended the festival to watch the film’s debut.
Bravo’s previous works have screened at AFI, SXSW, Sundance and Tribeca film festivals. Her feature film debut, Lemon, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and later sold to Magnolia Pictures. You may recognize Janicza’s directorial work on the television side. She directed the “Juneteenth” episode of Golden Globe-winning FX series Atlanta, HBO’s Divorce, Here and Now, and Netflix’s Dear White People.
Zola, co-written by Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris, appears to be an adventure story worth watching exploring themes of sex trafficking, sex workers realities and unusual friendships turned enemies.
Here’s a closer look at the key players in the film. Paige, portraying Zola, gravely resembles Wells and seems to be the perfect fit for the role. She does an excellent job of capturing the true essence of a Black woman caught in the middle of some unexpected mess. Jess, played by Riley Keough, drags Zola into the messiness on their journey to Florida. While Succession star, Nichola Braun is tapped for the role of Derrek, who’s name was originally Jarrett in the infamous Twitter thread. The Euphoria actor, Colman Domingo, will play the Nigerian pimp, Z, in the film.
What should fans expect from the highly anticipated film? Will it meet the expectations of the jarring Twitter thread?
We are certainly excited to see Paige in a role, like none other, for this film.
Watch the first look at Zola coming June 30 to theaters.