Just a few days ago, I was wondering what happened to Zola.
Zola, as you may remember, made a big splash at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. It’s based on a twitter thread, made up of 148 tweets, about a trip that someone claimed to have taken to Florida with a stripper. The trip involved prostitution, murder, and attempted suicide and it was later determined that the majority of the thread was a lie or, at the very least, seriously embellished. Still, it got enough attention to lead to a movie, one that was originally going to be directed by James Franco before he left the project and was replaced by Janicza Bravo. A24 picked up Zola at Sundance and, at the time, I remember that there were a lot of people who were predicting that Zola would be the film of 2020. Then the Pandemic hit and Zola kinda disappeared.
Well, it looks like Zola is finally going to get released. The trailer dropped today and the film has a release date of June 30th. I have to admit that I as I watched the trailer, I was a little bit torn. On the one hand, it looked like a typical A24 film. (I remember when the film was purchased, there were more than a few critics who complained about the fact that every year, A24 releases another psychotic road trip film.) On the other hand, I know people just like the character played Riley Keough. Just from what we see in the trailer, it appears that she got this character down perfectly. As anyone who has seen American Honey can attest, Riley Keough is a talented performer who deserves to be better known.
Add to that, if they’re going to turn a twitter thread into a movie, I’d much prefer it be this one as opposed to that twitter thread about the writer who claimed that a bunch of gangsters were trying to kill him because he accidentally insulted his weed guy. What was that all about? Of course, there’s always a risk that, if Zola does too well, every twitter thread will suddenly become a potential film pitch and I think that’s probably going to lead to twitter getting even more performative than it is now. The best threads are the ones that feature animals looking shocked over mundane things. Someone needs to make a movie out of that.
Anyway, here’s the trailer for Zola: