A viral Twitter thread about one woman’s experience of sex trafficking during a 2015 trip to Florida has been turned into a movie, “Zola”.

Inspired by A’Ziah “Zola” King’s 148-tweet thread and a subsequent story in Rolling Stone about her experience, the drama follows Detroit waitress and exotic dancer Zola whose customer Stefani convinces her to travel to Florida for a weekend. But the trip soon turns sinister when Zola realizes they are traveling with a pimp who has other intentions.

“What I do is sex work and that’s what I’m used to and that’s what I’m confident in doing,” King said in an interview. “But the difference in here is I was put into a situation that the conversation turned into sex trafficking.”

King’s account of the trip, whose details she later said she embellished, lit up social media, trending under the hashtag #TheStory. Some of those she named in the tweets have disagreed with her depiction of what happened.

zola movie poster

“I don’t really feel anything on that specific experience anymore,” King, who is a producer on the film, said about watching her story unfold on the big screen. It will also star Nicholas Braun and Colman Domingo.

“I’m a completely different person in a completely different space. At this point in time when I watch the movie, I can enjoy the artistic side of it. … This is many different conversations. This is a sex work conversation, this is a race conversation. This is a feminism conversation.”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” actress Taylour Paige plays Zola while Riley Keough, known for “Earthquake Bird” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” portrays Stefani.

“I was a little bit stressed at first because I didn’t get to hang out with Zola,” Paige said of her role preparation. “But (director) Janicza (Bravo) was like, ‘Remember, this is an interpretation of an interpretation of a perception and it’s hyperboles. So … this is like the exaggerated version.'”

“Zola” will be released June 30. Watch the official trailer below.

(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Richard Chang)

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