See the first trailer for Zola, a film based on an infamous Twitter thread

Taylour Paige and Riley Keough play dancers on a disastrous Florida road trip.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Everything can be fodder for a movie in 2021, including a viral Twitter thread. The first trailer for the movie Zola, starring Taylour Paige, Riley Keough and Nicholas Braun, came out on Wednesday. It's based on a 148-tweet Twitter thread written in 2015 by Detroit waitress Aziah King about a bizarre trip she took to Florida. The film, directed by Janicza Bravo and written by Bravo and Jeremy O'Harris, is scheduled for a June 30 release.

The thread was a roller-coaster of nearly unbelievable events that kick off when King, who goes by Zola, who was working at Hooters, was convinced by a customer to head to the Sunshine State and earn money for exotic dancing. The trip goes off the rails almost immediately. There's murder, sex trafficking, a suicide attempt and more. 

The Twitter saga was hashtagged #TheStory or #Zola, and even some celebrities followed it avidly. Director Ava DuVernay tweeted at the time, "In India reading #Zola. Drama, humor, action, suspense, character development. She can write!" 

Rolling Stone checked out the facts surrounding the real Florida trip, and reports that "Zola admits to embellishing some of the more sensational details," but also reports that "as outrageous as #TheStory seems, many of the details line up."

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020.

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