The upcoming film Zola is based on a viral Twitter thread posted in October 2015 by Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King that told the story of her crazy weekend in Florida with a sex worker and a pimp.
Although Zola star Taylour Paige admits that she wasn’t immediately familiar with King’s story, the actress says once she read through the dramatic retelling online, she was instantly hooked.
“My impression was just holy…This is insane,” Paige tells ABC Audio. “This mind is brilliant. Way to process your trauma.”
Calling King’s 148-tweet thread “iconic,” Paige says Zola’s language and storytelling is also “indicative of the time.”
“Like, it’s very millennial language,” Paige explains. “I mean, from her mind and from her experience we’re here talking about a movie…It’s like pretty insane.”
That “pretty insane” story is now a feature film directed by Janicza Bravo. The movie is narrated by Paige’s Zola and follows her and Riley Keough‘s Stefani on a “ho trip” to Florida to make some quick cash. Unfortunately for Zola, their trip goes horribly wrong once Stefani’s pimp gets involved. Paige says that although she “didn’t read it in real real time,” Zola’s story is one of those moments in pop culture that you just can’t forget.
“I read it when I found out I was auditioning for it. So unfortunately, I wasn’t a part of that,” she reveals. “[But] I feel like now it exists as a period piece.”
She adds, laughing, “Like where were you when the Zola thread came out?”
Zola, also starring Colman Domingo, hits theaters on June 30.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.