No surprise here.
This guy gave us Spring Breakers and a remake of Kanye West’s “Bound 2,” complete with Seth Rogen on the motorcycle as his bouncing Kim Kardashian. Now James Franco is directing a cinematic telling of the most epic story ever released on Twitter in 148 tweets. It drew international attention and a wide celebrity following from Jackee Harry to Ava DuVernay. Zola’s story was pure drama, raw and unfiltered. Twitter asked somebody in the cosmos for a Zola movie, and now Franco’s out to make good on that wish.
Zola’s story starts at her Detroit Hooter’s job where she meets Jessica — a pretty white girl with neck tattoos who shares the same stripping hustle. The next day, after a text from Jessica asking her to come dance with her in Florida, Zola takes an unforgettable road trip into a tale of African pimps named Z, sex, attempted suicide, and murder. The laughs are strewn thoroughly in Aziah “Zola” Wells’ Twitter recount of her time in Florida. Some questioned if the story was too epic to be true, but in November of last year Wells proved everyone wrong. For Rolling Stone, Wells sat down with David Kushner and retold her story in “Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted” with a more narrative detailing of her personal life, friends, and the trip that broke the Internet.
A movie based on Kushner’s story cover/interview is now moving into development from Franco and Vince Jolivette’s Rabbit Bandini Productions. Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa and Gigi Films’ Gia Walsh and Karen Baker are producers, along with Jolivette. Neel and Mike Roberts serve as the scriptwriters.
“Once things begin moving along, Aziah will be involved 100%,” Nichelle Watkins, Wells’ manager and mother, confirmed to BuzzFeed News in an email. When asked if Wells would be paid for her involvement in the movie, Watkins said she’s “not at liberty to discuss.” But added, “I don’t know anyone who works for free!! Even the young lady who did the voice for Elsa in Frozen was compensated although she didn’t get much and the movie was a hit!! And made Millions.$$$ This will NOT be Aziah’s case!!????Anything that Aziah does will be definitely hands on!!”