Turning a 148-tweet Twitter thread about sex work, murder and Florida into a movie is no small feat. But due to the tenacious, combined forces of Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris, writer/director Janzica Bravo and A24, Zola and its accompanying trailer are finally here after wowing critics at 2020’s Sundance. Our critic wrote at the time that the film was “a riotous, delicious, hilarious, and at times nauseating road trip movie through the south.”
Zola is based on the experiences of former Detroit waitress A’Ziah “Zola” Wells who, in 2015, tweeted about her journey through multiple Floridian clubs with a stripper named Jessica, Jessica’s boyfriend and her violent pimp.
Taylour Paige portrays Zola opposite Riley Keough’s Stefani, the Jessica figure. Black powerhouse Colman Domingo and Nicholas Braun (yes, Cousin Gregg from Succession) complete the film’s outfit playing Stefani’s pimp X and boyfriend Derrek respectively. The trailer for Zola is bonkers. It has the pomp and color of Katia Hall’s P-Valley and all the adrenaline fueled anxiety of a Safdie Brothers film.
Stefani calls Zola one night as Zola is pole dancing at home to invite her on a money-making, dancing trip across Florida. Zola is apprehensive at first because the pair had only met one day ago, but agrees to come. Weee-wooo-weee-wooo. Boogie Nights-style voiceover from Zola breaks the fourth wall to attest that Stefani is in fact a shady figure and that the story only gets more intense from then on. Other trailer highlights include Stefani’s cringe-worthy blaccent, a characteristic of the white character that is sure to raise some tension between her and Zola, and Derrek’s enthusiasm that the quartet is out to make some “shmoney.”
Watch the trailer for Zola here: