On March 31st, A24 dropped the official trailer for its biographical comedy-drama Zola, directed by Janicza Bravo and based on the true experience of A’ziah “Zola” King. Captured in a series of 148 tweets, King’s wild road trip down to Florida with a rambunctious spirit named Jessica, Jessica’s boyfriend Jarrett, Jessica’s pimp, and a ton of craziness took the internet by storm back in 2015. David Kushner for Rolling Stone writes, “[The Twitter thread] reads like Spring Breakers meets Pulp Fiction, as told by Nicki Minaj,” and I’d say that’s exactly what it seems like. (You can read the original thread here for yourself!)
Even more so, the official trailer for the film Zola can be described as having “energy reminiscent of previous A24 releases like Spring Breakers and Uncut Gems (with a dash of The Florida Project),” as noted by Dade Hayes of Deadline. A24 is no stranger to producing films known to capture audiences with unique storytelling, incredible cinematography, and spectacular soundtracks, no matter the genre of the film – and Zola seems like no exception to this pattern.
ABOUT THE FILM
Premiering at Sundance Film Festival in 2020 under the “U.S. Dramatic Competition” category, Zola was directed by Janicza Bravo and written by Bravo and playwright Jeremy O. Harris. The film stars newcomers Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun, Ari’el Stachel, and Colman Domingo. The trailer begins with a direct quote from one of A’ziah King’s tweets from the original Twitter thread: “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this b***h here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.” Immediately, you as a viewer are hooked, and even if you aren’t someone who has background knowledge of the original series of Tweets, (I, myself, am one of those people), you’re thrown into a whirlwind of a story and you’re definitely here to stay.
As the trailer continues, we get to see how Zola and Stefani, (Jessica in the original tweets), meet and how their relationship develops over a couple of days. But throughout all the fun outfits, the excitement of stripping and dancing, and the comedic interactions between Zola and other characters, it’s apparent that the relationship between Zola and Stefani is not one of a “Thelma and Louise” type nature; in fact, Zola even states in the trailer, “From here on out, watch every move this b***h make.” It’s clear that what starts as a mysterious and exciting proposition of partying and “hoeism,” as A24 cites in their official film description, quickly spirals into a dangerous tale of pimps, money, violence, and emotional turmoil.
From the poignant Tweet sounds to the epic hip-hop beats playing in the background, the trailer is full of glamor, color, and intrigue. What I really think sells the film here is the cast of characters, though. The chemistry between actresses Taylour Paige and Riley Keough feels believable and real, and the intercuts of them dancing and arguing drives home the idea of a possible friendship gone sour, and throughout the trailer, you’re wondering, “What exactly went down?” Also, who doesn’t love Nicholas Braun, (of Succession, Sky High, and How to be Single fame), playing Stefani’s maudlin, rather idiotic boyfriend with a terrible chinstrap saying, “We makin’ schmoney” in the most white boy manner possible? Hilarious.
FOR MORE INFORMATION…
Originally slated to premiere in theaters in 2020, Zola was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A24 officially stated that they will be releasing the film in theaters starting June 30, 2021. You can find more information on the official Zola website at https://a24films.com/films/zola. In addition, you can stay in the know of updates regarding the film via the A24 at UGA Facebook page located here: https://www.facebook.com/A24UGA/. And in line with the origins of Zola’s story, you can stay up to date via A24’s Twitter account as well, @A24. Zola is surely a “Hot Girl Summer” film you don’t wanna miss, so make sure to grab your girlfriends, put on your best partying outfit, and Tweet all about your experience come this June!