LIVE

The film is adapted from a series of 148 tweets from 2015 that recounted a twisted trip to Florida

By Benjamin VanHoose
August 06, 2020 12:59 PM
Advertisement
Zola movie
Credit: A24

Taylour Paige plays the title role in Zola. PEOPLE apologizes for not noting as such in a previous headline.

Okay listen up. The first footage of Zola is finally here!

On Thursday, A24 debuted the first teaser for the film, which gives the cinematic treatment to a viral Twitter thread from October 2015 by @_zolarmoon. Directed by Janicza Bravo, Zola premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and stars Riley Keough, Taylour Paige and Succession star (and recent Emmy nominee) Nicholas Braun.

"You wanna hear a story about how me and this bitch here fell out? It's kinda long but it's full of suspense," says Paige as Zola in the clip, as she and Keough, in character, apply their makeup in front of a mirror for one memorable night out.

"Most of what follows is true," a message on the screen teases.

The basis of the story comes from A’Ziah Wells, aka Zola, who chronicled a wild retelling of her experiences traveling from Detroit to Tampa, Florida, in 2015. Following a pair of sex workers, the adventure spans drama ranging from kidnapping to shootings.

"You’re like, this is not funny on paper. Like it’s not funny. But [A’Ziah] managed to extrapolate all of this humor and tension and stress and anxiety and it just like got me. … It was electric," Bravo told Variety in January. "I could feel the blood coursing through my veins and I wanted it and I thought that like only a black girl could’ve experienced that and processed it and exorcised it."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories

She added: "In that way, only a person who is innately adept at engaging with their trauma is able to take a step away from it, retell the story, and take a hold of their narrative."

The film is also based on a November 2015 Rolling Stone article that went more in-depth to the series of events with Wells. Bravo said she felt attached to the material instantly.

"From the moment it entered into my hands, I was like, ‘Must make it now.’ And I tried, I tried to get the story, and it didn’t happen," Bravo said of the project, which was originally to be directed by James Franco, according to Variety.

RELATED VIDEO: Sia Defends Paris Jackson as a 'Good Person' amid Backlash to Movie Where She Plays Jesus

With the release date of the film delayed and postponed due to the ongoing pandemic, the film's stars have been sharing their excitement for audiences to finally see the movie. Back in May, Keough, 31, tweeted, "You guys I really can’t wait for you to see Zola."

"I am proud of the film. I feel good about the film," Bravo told Variety. "I said mostly what I wanted to say, and that’s all I can ask for. The real Zola got to see it, and she gave me a thumbs up. Honestly, to me, that’s what I needed."

Wells shared the trailer on Twitter, captioning it: "BITCHH, we goin to Florida! #ComingSoon."