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On paper, some of the greatest movies of all time don’t make any sense. The pitch for Taxi Driver basically just concerned a depressed taxi driver roaming around New York. It’s not incredibly appealing at first glance, but it turned out to be a modern masterpiece in practice. Then there are others movies, movies that sound so simultaneously insane and brilliant that we don’t have to see a single frame of the project to tell that it’s destined for greatness. James Franco’s upcoming project falls into the latter category.
A new report from THR indicates that the eccentric actor has been tapped to direct the upcoming film Zola. As the abbreviated title would suggest, the film will take inspiration from a Rolling Stone article titled "Zola Tells All: The Real Story Behind the Greatest Stripper Saga Ever Tweeted," which followed the adventures of Aziah "Zola" Wells, a stripper who chronicled a violent Florida road trip. During the trip, her friend Jessica, Jessica’s boyfriend, and a dangerously violent pimp simply named "Z" accompanied Zola. Throughout their trip, Zola narrated the journey in a 148 Tweet rant – describing in vivid detail the twists and turns of their journey as they engaged in prostitution, excessive drug use, and potentially even murder. Check out the photo below to get but a brief taste of Zola's story:
Although certain details about the journey remain difficult to confirm, the story took the internet by storm last fall, eventually getting the attention of Rolling Stone, and then Hollywood. Whether or not the story actually took place seems somewhat irrelevant at this point, because the story itself has taken on a life of its own.
If this absolutely bonkers premise sounds right up James Franco’s alley, then that’s probably because it is. The actor has a long history of involving himself with odd projects and indie darlings – crossing numerous genre lines in the process. From Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours or The Interview, the actor has never shied away from films that attract controversy or attempt to break new ground in the world of cinema. Overall, Zola seems to share numerous qualities – at least in spirit – to Franco’s previous film Spring Breakers. Like Zola, Spring Breakers also chronicled the violent, youthful, and odd sense of gritty glamour in Florida. Whether or not Franco takes inspiration or visual cues from Spring Breakers remains to be seen, but the distinct similarities between the two cannot be ignored.
Zola is still in the very early stages of development, and as such no relevant casting information been revealed. We will bring you more information about Zola as it becomes available.