Zola filmmakers explain the meaning of the

Zola, in terms of adaptations, is remarkable faithful to the source material. The 148-tweet thread #TheStory is her source material. Janicza Bravo, the director, and Jeremy O. Harris, the co-writer, came to help translate the words of AZiah Zla King's words to the screen. They set out to preserve her voice, her agency in the too wild-to-be true odyssey that she first shared with the world. King also served as the executive producer of the film. Bravo and Harris are clearly infatuated with King as both a person, and as a storyteller. Zola is their stylish vessel for her sacred words. As both an author and an audience surrogate, Zolas Zola (Taylour Paige) is able to process the events around her in real-time, creating the story. In this sense, Zola is a story about storytelling. It's about how we create the stories we want people to hear.AdvertisementAlthough Zola is loyal to Kings tweets and often commits them to film word for word, there's one exception. A title card with @Stefani printed on it appears just before the end of the last act. The following is a cinematic tangent that is both funny and disturbing. Stefani (Riley Keough),Zolas docent discusses this dark descentrecounts #TheStory, from her perspective. There are some significant discrepancies between what weve seen so far. Although Stefanis short narration may be comical and disturbingly racist, it was also pulled directly from the source: A Reddit post by Stefanis real life counterpart, purporting that she told Kings story as she remembered. The scene, which literally interrupts Zola's story, serves to remind us of who weve been following thus far and how rare it is for Black women to control their narratives in movies like Zola.The A.V. Club, Bravo and Harris discuss the moment Zola became @Stefani. King explains why and how it was balanced with the darker realities.AdvertisementThe A.V. Club: Much of Zolas story closely follows #TheStory as tweeted by AZiah. Just before the last act, we switch to @Stefani to see Stefanis' version of events. Was that the beginning of this scene? What was your intention to communicate with it?Janicza Bravo. I was captivated by #TheStory when it first appeared on Twitter in 2015. I searched for it quickly after reading it. After doing my dramaturgical research, I found the Stefani of our story-the real person [telling] their version on Reddit. DerrekNicholasBraunthat person who shared their story on Facebook revealed a lot of commonalities. There were a lot similarities between the three stories. Stefanis' version was what I wanted, mainly because almost all articles at that time had questioned AZiahs story. I was disturbed by the fact that they seemed so focused on whether or not she was telling the truth and less on the topic she was discussing.I assumed that there would be a segment of our audience who would jump from the first frame and ask questions about the dynamic between a Black woman and a white woman. So I fed them the question I knew they would ask, which was, "Well, what's her version of events?" I believe it serves to remind us that the story we have been following, up until now, is also told through one person's eyes.AVC: What do you think about that scene, AZiah? What do you think is the most important thing about the film?AdvertisementAZiah Zoli King: This is one of my favourite scenes. That's exactly how she treated me in real life. You know what that was exactly like? It was brand. [Laughs.]AVC: Some of the deeper racism in Stefani's character bubbles up to the surface, but you manage to mix comedy and the ugly. Janicza and Jeremy, how did that work in scripting this scene?Jeremy O. Harris says that I believe that she was the real woman. You see, her line that she made $1 was not invent by us. It was her line and it was quite funny. [Laughs.] The idea that someone could only make $1 in a stripclub?It was a place for us to have a lot fun while we were writing it. We loved AZiah and her amazing ability to tell a complex and funny story, so it was great to think about the worst ways to tell that story. And see what comedy could be made. These moments when she said "Well, I'm a Christian."AdvertisementAZK: It's so funny.JOH: These are all the weird asides that don't need to be there to make you the main character in your story. That was a lot of fun to write. Janicza and I were able to draw on our theater backgrounds. We are both theatre nerds. It was also a great opportunity to perform a complete fourth-wall breaking monologue. We had to go back to Playwrights Horizons, and DePaul Theater Schoolshout.The A.V. has more information You can read more about The A.V. Clubs coverage of Zola by checking out our film review and our interview with the cast. Also, check out our conversation with Riley Keough and Taylour Paige below.AdvertisementZola is currently playing in select theaters across the country.