Zola, Janicza Bravo’s take on an extraordinary 2015 Twitter thread, can’t come soon enough. But times being what they are, the movie—which earned strong reviews out of Sundance earlier this year—has been held indefinitely by A24. Though it’s unclear when the movie will be released, A24 offered fans a glimpse at the upcoming drama on Thursday, releasing a sumptuous teaser featuring titular star Taylour Paige and co-star Riley Keough.
The trailer shows Paige and Keough, who play Zola and her wild frenemy Stefani, respectively, standing in front of a mirror in a neon-lit room, casually primping and touching up their makeup. “Most of what follows is true,” a message on the screen reads.
“You wanna hear a story about how me and this bitch here fell out?” Zola asks in voiceover. “It’s kinda long, but it’s full of suspense.”
The teaser doesn’t end with a concrete release announcement, merely stating that the film is “coming soon.”
Zola is a retelling of a 2015 Twitter thread written by Aziah “Zola” Wells, a stripper who went on a wild, unpredictable road trip with a sex worker named Stefani. At the time, the thread quickly went viral, amplified by artists like Solange Knowles (who later featured Wells in a music video) and Ava DuVernay. James Franco was initially tapped to direct a film adaptation, but those plans were scrapped after numerous women made sexual misconduct allegations against him. (Franco denied the claims.)
Bravo, the auteur behind the discomfiting indie Lemon, as well as memorable episodes of shows like Atlanta, later took the reins. She also co-wrote the script alongside Slave Play playwright Jeremy O’Harris. O’Harris has emphasized this point on Twitter, lauding both Bravo and film editor Joi McMillon.
“It cannot be overstated but I didn’t write the movie, it was CO-Written by firstly Janicza but also our editor Joi who I feel like was our third writer in many way,” he wrote. “Zola is many things but it’s primarily about the black female lens and her authorship. Thats A’ziah’s true work.”
Zola premiered at Sundance in January, where it was applauded by critics. “It’s not prurient Spring Breakers, nor flashy, righteous Hustlers,” Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson observed. “It’s more meditative than that, wistful in its odd way as it considers the lives those famous tweets sketched out—and all the other lives surrounding them.”
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Exposing the Fall of CBS Showrunner Peter Lenkov
— How Sarah Cooper Trumped Donald Trump—Without Saying a Word
— An Exclusive First Look at the TV Drama That Will Enrage Trump
— Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking Only Scratches the Surface of a Big Problem
— How Olivia de Havilland Learned Hattie McDaniel Defeated Her at the 1940 Oscars
— See Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson’s Ode to an Iconic Villain: Nurse Ratched
— From the Archive: Inside Olivia de Havilland’s Notorious Lifelong Feud With Sister Joan Fontaine
Looking for more? Sign up for our daily Hollywood newsletter and never miss a story.