Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader
What to Know About the True Story Behind ‘Zola’ Starring Taylour Paige and Riley Keough

Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Y’all wanna hear a story? More than five years after A’Ziah King’s viral Twitter thread about a truly memorable trip to Florida, the film inspired by her story, Zola, finally debuted in June 2021.

The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic forced distributors to push back the wide release. Several critics who were lucky enough to catch early screenings were impressed, with Entertainment Weekly calling the movie a “wild candy-colored road saga with piles of style and postmodern flair.”

But what it’s about? As Twitter obsessives know, King, a.k.a. @_zolarmoon, famously began her 148-tweet thread in October 2015 with the line, “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.”

Then working as a waitress in Detroit, King supplemented her income by stripping and traveled to clubs in different states. During one of her shifts in March 2015, she met a woman named Jessica Swiatowski, who invited her to come with her to Florida. Swiatowski’s boyfriend and a man known only as “Z” accompanied the duo.

Though King, who also goes by Zola, believed the purpose of the trip was dancing at local clubs, things took a turn when Z suggested the women place ads offering their services as prostitutes. King wasn’t interested but decided to stay with Swiatowski so she wouldn’t be alone. The story quickly spiraled even further out of control — and allegedly culminated in a shooting.

By February 2016, Hollywood came calling. James Franco was initially attached to direct a movie inspired by King’s tweets, but he later dropped out and was replaced by Janizca Bravo in 2018. Bravo cowrote the screenplay alongside Jeremy O. Harris, the playwright whose Slave Play was nominated for 12 Tony nominations in 2020.

After Bravo took over, she made sure that credit and compensation went to King for her original tweets. The movie includes a title card that says, “Based on the tweets by A’Ziah King,” she was credited as an executive producer and she will receive 2.5 percent of the film’s profits.

“Now that I know I’m good at writing, I would love to do more movies,” King told New York magazine in 2021. “I would love to do something like a series because, like I said, I have 1,000,010 stories. You have no idea. Working in the club, I’ve seen some wild s—t. I would love to tell them all at some point.”

Keep scrolling to read more about Zola:

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post