The true-ish story of a road trip gone to hell and back gets the big-screen treatment with Zola, a wild, provocative film from director Janicza Bravo. Taylour Paige plays a dancer who meets another woman, played by Riley Keough, and gets talked into going along on a trip to make some serious money. But nothing goes according to plan, and things go from bad to worse and then downright crazy. Watch the Zola trailer below.
On October 27, 2015, Aziah King, using the Twitter handle @_zolarmoon, took to social media and asked: “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out???????? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.” What followed was a wild and crazy thread that went viral, telling the tale of how King went on a road trip with a cast of characters who could best be described as “eccentric.” The story was indeed based on true events, although King changed some things around here and there.
Now, that Twitter thread has become a movie – Zola, a dark comedy from director Janicza Bravo. Here’s the synopsis:
“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.”
Thus began the odyssey of one A’Ziah King, aka ZOLA. From acclaimed writer/director Janicza Bravo, Zola’s stranger than fiction saga, which she first told in a now iconic series of viral, uproarious tweets, comes to dazzling cinematic life.
Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress, strikes up a new friendship with a customer, Stefani (Riley Keough), who seduces her to join a weekend of dancing and partying in Florida. What at first seems like a glamorous trip full of “hoeism” rapidly transforms into a 48-hour journey involving a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in this wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.
In addition to Paige and Keough, Zola also stars Nicholas Braun, Ari’el Stachel, and Colman Domingo. I caught Zola at Sundance 2020, and it exhausted me. It’s a sensory overload of a movie, and it’s going to wow some viewers while turning others off. One thing is for sure: Taylour Paige is phenomenal in the lead, and she needs to become a huge star, immediately. As I wrote in my review:
It’s the performances that keep Zola afloat. Keough can play this type of gum-snapping, slang-slinging character in her sleep, and she’s quite funny as the babyish Stefani, who isn’t as clueless and innocent as she makes herself out to be. But this is Paige’s show. As Zola, Paige’s comic timing is electric, and she brings a much-needed amount of sympathy and empathy to the proceedings. If this movie doesn’t make her a huge star, something is seriously wrong.
Zola hits theaters this summer.
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