In 2015, a 148-part Twitter thread went so viral that it became known simply as #TheStory. In 140 characters or less, Aziah "Zola" Wells shared a tale with her followers about how she went along with a fellow stripper from Detroit to Tampa, Fla. in search of lucrative dancing gigs. What transpired, though, was, as she said, "kind of long but full of suspense."
Zola, a waitress at the time, accompanied dancer Jessica, along with Jessica's boyfriend Jarrett and a mysterious "roommate" known only as Z, on a road trip that, at its end, had included pimps, murder, shoot-outs and enough drama to make it sound like, well, a movie. The story garnered the attention of stars like Missy Elliot, Keke Palmer, Solange Knowles and director Ava DuVernay.
Now, her story has, indeed, become a movie! A screenplay was written using a series of tweets as its subject matter and premiered at Sundance last year. An article by the Rolling Stone's David Kushner profiling Wells was optioned by James Franco's Rabbit Bandini Productions, Killer Films and Gigi Films (though Franco himself is no longer attached); Janicza Bravo and Jeremy O. Harris developed the script, while Bravo ("Lemon," "Atlanta") directed.
Now, fair warning: The story is not for the faint of heart and definitely includes some mature elements, but can we all just revel in the fact that an entire movie was developed from tweets?
"Zola" will premiere in theaters this summer.