Mica Levi has scored A24’s upcoming film, Zola, based on Aziah “Zola” Wells’ 2015 viral tweetstorm, Pitchfork reports. Zola’s story was detailed in Rolling Stone‘s “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted” by David Kushner. The film will premiere at Sundance Film Festival in January.
Initially, James Franco was tied to the picture, with his company Rabbit Bandini Productions optioning the rights to the story, and Franco slated to direct. The film is now backed by A24, with director Janicza Bravo at the helm and Bravo cowriting the script alongside Jeremy O. Harris.
The film follows Wells’ lurid account of meeting a woman named Jessica while working at a Hooters that led to a real life sex trafficking scheme. As Kushner’s Rolling Stone report explains, the meeting led to a “harrowing road trip,” that included “Jessica’s maudlin boyfriend, Jarrett; and Jessica’s violent Nigerian pimp, ‘Z.’ Tricks get turned, a hustler gets murdered, Jarrett leaps from a four-story window,” Kushner writes. “It reads like Spring Breakers meets Pulp Fiction, as told by Nicki Minaj.”
As Variety notes, Bravo took over as director from Franco in June 2018 and set Zola‘s cast. Taylor Paige stars in the titular Zola role, Riley Keough portrays Jessica, Nicholas Braun plays Jessica’s boyfriend and the pimp Z is portrayed by Colman Domingo.