In a time ruled by social media and countless movie reboots, even tweets are now being adapted into screenplays. Actor and perennial oddball James Franco’s latest project will see him directing a film based on Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted, a Rolling Stone article by David Kushner which, itself, was based on a round of tweets that went viral, reports THR.
The article, published in November, was inspired by a 148-tweet recap by Aziah “Zola” Wells of a crazy weekend trip she had taken with a fellow stripper, Jessica. The two, along with Jessica’s boyfriend, Jarrett, headed to Florida to work at a club, and there, the situation quickly got out of hand — at least according to Zola.
She wrote of Jessica’s pimp, “Z,” turning up and putting Jessica to work, much to the dismay of the already-depressed Jarrett. Over the course of the night, the saga continues to get crazier, with Jessica being snatched and beaten by a group of men — one of whom Z is said to end up shooting — and Jarrett jumping off of a balcony.
Rolling Stone got in touch with Zola and the story’s major players after it caught fire online. Jessica and Zola’s accounts of the evening differ (Jessica denies turning tricks), and Zola admits that she played up parts of the story based on the reaction of her followers, but nevertheless, people were enthralled by the drama. The tweets even gained the attention of stars like Missy Elliot and Selma director Ava DuVernay; Franco obviously saw the appeal as well.
The project seems right up Franco’s alley, following a similarly torrid tale as the recent film Spring Breakers. “It reads like Spring Breakers meets Pulp Fiction, as told by Nicki Minaj,” wrote Kushner in his article.
In addition to directing, Franco will produce alongside his Rabbit Bandini Productions partner Vince Jolivette. Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hiojosa, and Gia Walsh and Kara Baker of Gigi Films will also produce. The script will be written by Andrew Neel and Mike Roberts, who collaborated with Franco on the upcoming film Goat. A release date has not yet been announced.