‘Zola’ Interview: Janicza Bravo And Jeremy O. Harris On Adapting The Epic Twitter Thread, Blaxploitation, & More

Should any of us be surprised that one incredible, mind-blowing Twitter thread became a critically-acclaimed movie? Social media has been the impetus for so many projects already, but none EVER quite like Zola. Directed by Janicza Bravo as her followup to 2017’s bizarre comedy Lemon, the film is a stylish adaptation of A’ziah “Zola” King’s 2015 Twitter thread that begins with this epic opener…

“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me and this bitch here fell out?”

Thousands, perhaps millions, of people really did want to hear that story, told in a 148-long tweet thread like an online soap opera. And now those people will be able to see it play out on the big screen. The challenge for Bravo and co-writer Jeremy O. Harris was figuring out how to take 140-character tweets and make them into a cohesive-ish story about Zola (Taylour Paige) getting caught in a “hoe trap” with Stefani (Riley Keough), a woman she just met, her dim-witted boyfriend Derrek (Nicholas Braun), and her volatile “roommate” X (Colman Domingo) on a road trip to Florida.

I was fortunate to speak with Bravo and Harris about Zola, what drove them to want to make this into a feature film, how it fits into the blaxploitation genre, and finding the perfect cast to play such colorful real-life characters.

Zola opens in theaters on June 30th. Check out my review here and the interview below!

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.