A24 has released a new trailer for Zola. The movie stars Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, Logan Lucky) and newcomer Taylour Paige. Yes, it is a movie about strippers. But not just a movie about strippers. Amazingly, it is based on a viral Twitter thread, which was subsequently adapted for the big screen. Admittedly, someone telling a story on social media does not often serve as inspiration in Hollywood. But as this trailer reveals, the story that was told in a series of tweets that day was too juicy to ignore.
The trailer opens up with Zola, played by Taylour Paige, and Stefani, played by Riley Keough, hatching plans for a trip, despite having only recently met. This seems strange to Zola but she decides to go along with it. Things start out, not exactly innocent, but not off-the-rails either. Just some illicit fun. It quickly does, however, venture off the rails. The trailer doesn’t give away too much of the story. Rather, it teases much of what’s to come. Strip clubs. Stacks of money. Guns. Yelling. Cops. There is much to process. Despite not showing its hand, the footage does do a good job at conveying the hectic nature of this trip and ride viewers will be taking.
The movie comes from writer/director Janicza Bravo. She previously directed 2017’s Lemon, as well as episodes of Atlanta, Love and Dear White People. The whole story came from a Twitter saga that is stranger than fiction. A Twitter user going by the name of A’Ziah King detailed a wild happening in a now-infamous thread in 2015. “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense,” the thread began. A wild tale unfolded that involved a pimp, guns, an angry boyfriend and yes, strippers. The whole thing was wild enough to inspire a movie that was produced by a prestigious studio. The cast also includes Nicholas Braun (Succession) and Colman Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).
Zola centers on a Detroit waitress (Taylour Paige) who strikes up a new friendship with a customer, Stefani (Riley Keough). Stefani convinces her to join a weekend of dancing and partying in Florida. At first, this seems like a glamorous trip, but it rapidly transforms into a 48-hour journey that involves a nameless pimp, an idiot boyfriend, some Tampa gangsters and other unexpected adventures in what is described as a “wild, see-it-to-believe-it tale.”
Last summer was virtually non-existent at movie theaters, save for the less-than-stellar release of Tenet. Yet, as things continue to improve around the world, studios are bracing for what is shaping up to be a return to theaters, with a robust lineup of titles for moviegoers to enjoy. While there will be blockbusters in the mix, this will offer up something quite unique. And it also seems like the kind of thing that might benefit from the theatrical experience. Zola arrives in theaters on June 21 from A24. Be sure to check out the new trailer for yourself.