“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out?” asks Taylour Paige in a new trailer for “Zola.” “It’s kind of long, but full of suspense.” Based on a viral Twitter thread, Janicza Bravo’s latest sees Paige, who recently appeared in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” taking on the role of A’Ziah King, aka Zola, a Detroit waitress who is lured to Florida by a customer with promises of big money and parties.
When Stefani (Riley Keough, “American Honey”) tells Zola about a “cute spot in Florida” where her roommate’s friend made $5,000 a night dancing, Zola makes jokes about her attempts to plan “hoe trips together” after the two just met yesterday. Still, she’s unable to resist Stefani’s charisma and a hefty paycheck, so she comes along to Florida to dance, but after a pimp and gangsters enter the picture Zola begins to distrust Stefani. “This is messy,” she tells her. “You are messy. Your brain is broke.”
Bravo penned the script for “Zola” with Jeremy O. Harris. Her feature directorial debut, “Lemon,” premiered at the 2017 edition of Sundance.
When we asked the writer-director advice she’d give other women filmmakers, she said, “Being likable and/or being liked shouldn’t factor into how you get your work done. I’m not saying to be a tyrant, but the work is first,” she emphasized. “Your vision and your voice. If it fails, it’s on you. If it does well, then everybody is gonna take some of your shine. People are going to say and think whatever they want no matter how well you behave.”
“Zola” hits theaters this summer.
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