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A24 has finally found its Zola.
Up-and-comer Taylour Paige will star in the indie studio’s movie Zola, the saga about a stripper that took Twitter (and the larger internet) by storm in 2015.
Then-20-year-old Aziah Wells, aka Zola, rose to internet infamy when she chronicled, 140 characters at a time, a wild 48-hour odyssey with an exotic dancer, the dancer’s boyfriend and a pimp. The funny and suspenseful story was co-signed on Twitter by the likes of Ava DuVernay.
Janicza Bravo, who has directed episodes of Atlanta, Love and Dear White People and made her feature debut in 2017 with Sundance feature Lemon, will direct. (Early in the development process, James Franco was attached to direct and produce).
Bravo and A24 conducted a nationwide search to cast the lead role of Zola.
“I’m at a coffee shop in L.A. and in walks this girl. I’m entranced and can’t stop staring. It’s the way she sits in her body. It’s agency. It’s self-possession … everything that drew me to telling this story,” says Bravo. “One year later she auditions, and I knew instantly — like, I knew it then: After seeing 700 girls, the one meant to be finally walked in.”
Adds A24: “Zola is an iconic, iconoclastic role, and Taylour and Janicza are exactly the people to bring the character to life. We’re thrilled to be working with them on this too-real-to-be-true saga, a defining and legendary entry in the deeply American road trip genre.”
Bravo wrote the screenplay with playwright Jeremy O. Harris, Andrew Neel and Mike Roberts based on Wells’ life and the Rolling Stone magazine piece “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted.”
Production on Zola is set to begin this fall.
Paige was most recently seen in Matthew McConaughey’s White Boy Rick. She is repped by CAA, Untitled and Stone Genow.
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