You probably remember where you were the first time you came across A’ziah King’s Internet-exploding story about why she and “this b—h here fell out.” Back in 2015, King’s road-trip-gone-WTF tale – a seemingly harmless trip to Florida takes some incredibly wild and potentially harmful turns – played out in 148 Tweets sent from King’s @Zola handle and gave new meaning to the word “viral.” Seriously, for a while there Zola/A’ziah and “this white b—h” she met at Hooters (that would be Jessica) were all anyone on the Internet could talk about. And so naturally someone had to make a movie about it.
This month, Zola, co-written and directed by Janicza Bravo, finally arrives in theaters on a wave of buzz thanks to its inventive direction, razor-sharp and hilarious script (co-written by Tony-winning Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris), and star-making performances from Taylour Paige as Zola, Riley Keough as Stefani (a fictionalized Jessica), as well as Nicholas Braun, and Colman Domingo. Ahead of the movie’s release, Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley spoke with Bravo, Harris, Paige, Keough, Braun, and King herself about their first reactions to the @Zola thread, Bravo’s “genius” direction, and how they managed to capture the spirit of the Internet on film.
Zola is in theaters Wednesday June 30, 2021.