Back in 2017, Afro-Panamanian writer and director Janicza Bravo told Remezcla that her “sense of humor is kind of particular…a little bit dark” and that she likes to make “sad…or stressful comedies.” Four years later, it looks like Bravo is still exploring that niche genre with her new film Zola.
The first official trailer hit online Wednesday morning (March 31) and the dark comedy looks like it’s going to be more than a wild ride. Zola follows the title character (Taylour Paige), a waitress in Detroit who takes a road trip to Florida with her new friend, Stefani (Riley Keough), for a weekend of partying. Their plans to practice “hoeism,” however, take an unexpected turn when they meet a nameless pimp (Colman Domingo) and some shady gangsters.
“You wanna hear a story about how me and this bitch fell out?” Zola tells viewers. “It’s kinda long, but it’s full of suspense.”
The line of dialogue comes straight from a Twitter thread that went viral in 2015 and is the inspiration behind the Zola film.
From the trailer, the story starts with Zola and Stefani thinking they make some big money at a strip club in the Sunshine State. Before Zola knows it, a photo of her and Stefani is posted on a website for escorts.
“I got you girls a real nice spot,” Domingo’s intimidating character tells them before we see them inside a fancy hotel room. Getting an unwilling friend caught up in a prostitution ring is probably not a good way to build a stronger relationship.
“This is messy,” Zola tells Stefani. “You are messy. Your brain is broke.”
Both Paige and Colman starred together in the Oscar-nominated film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. They didn’t have much interaction in that drama, but based on the trailer for Zola, it looks like the conflict is going to ramp up to some insane levels.
Zola is scheduled to hit theaters June 30.