Jun 30, 2021 - News

How a tweetstorm about a crazy trip to Tampa inspired A24's "Zola"

Riley Keough (left) stars as Stefani and Taylour Paige (right) stars as Zola in director Janicza Bravo's "Zola." Credit: A24 Film

In 2015, A'Ziah Zola King, a Hooters waitress in Detroit, took an insane trip to Tampa to make some money as an exotic dancer and then wrote a 148-tweet story that started like this:

  • "Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this b---h here fell out? It’s kind of long but full of suspense."

That Twitter story has now been made into a full-length motion picture, filmed mostly in the Tampa Bay area, that's out today and getting all kinds of buzz.

  • Creative Loafing calls it the "latest ode to all the sticky, seedy, sandy stereotypes we love about Tampa Bay."

The big picture: The A24 film, starring Taylour Paige and Riley Keough, follows “Zola" King's Tampa trip that turned into scary episodes of sex trafficking, altercations with gangsters and attempted suicide.

What they're saying: "We had the same goal: To make the film very authentic, very 2015, very Tampa, very Florida ... very me," King, who was 19 at the time of the trip in March 2015, told Creative Loafing.

  • "My main role [was] to get them into my head and into that point of time in my life because it’s a very specific time, not just in Florida but in the world."

Ben's thought bubble: That description, and the trailer, sorta remind us of Harmony Korine's 2012 fever dream, Spring Breakers, also an A24 film, which I loved but many of y'all absolutely hated.


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