THE LEGEND OF ZOLA HEADS TO THE BIG SCREEN
By Erin White
October 11, 2018
“P*ssy is worth thousands.”
No truer words were spoken in Aziah “Zola” Wells’ phenomenal (now deleted) 148-tweet-long road trip saga back in 2015. A delightfully comedic and shockingly twisty story told through the eyes of former stripper Zola as she embarked on a series of misadventures in Florida with fellow stripper, Jessica, and one that is now being turned into a Hollywood motion picture. (The way everyone in the AFROPUNK Slack room seems to have predicted it would.)
To recap: Messiness ensues when Zola, Jessica, her boyfriend Jarrett, and a man called “Z” agree to dance at a high-paying club in Tampa. Along the way, we learn the Z is actually Jessica’s pimp and intends to pimp both women out. And Zola ain’t wit it. Needless to say, that ish went viral and captured not only all of our hearts but the attention of movie producers.
At the time, Zola’s story got on the radar of creatives like Ava DuVernay, who marveled at Zola’s expert storytelling and her ability to craft a compelling narrative through Twitter. Some have described the tale as a Southern Gothic business story gone terribly wrong — and such descriptions are apt! There’s a kidnapping, a suicide attempt, dangerous sex work, and a murder. Shit gets heavy.
Fast-forward to today, Zola is being made into a feature film by independent Panamanian-American Janicza Bravo director (Atlanta, Dear White People) is leading the helm as the film’s co-writer and director with Taylour Paige (Ballers, Hit the Floor) playing the titular character. Before this, James Franco and Killer Films had optioned the story with a script produced by Andrew Neel and Mike Roberts. According to The Verge Bravo and co-writer Jeremy O. Harris will share screenwriting credits with Neel and Roberts.