We’re several months away from Zola, Janicza Bravo’s surreal and thrilling adaptation of A’Ziah King’s epic 144-tweet thread, arriving in theaters, but the tweet to kick it off is already reminding us of some of history and cinema’s greatest feuds.
While King’s thread is no longer on Twitter, her first tweet is immortalized in the trailer as Zola (Taylour Paige) says over footage of Zola with her soon-to-be ex-friend Stefani (Riley Keough), “You wanna hear a story about how me and this bitch fell out? It’s kinda long, but it’s full of suspense.” (Apart from a couple of grammatical differences, it’s just what King tweeted on that fateful night.)
The line is a hell of a set-up for Zola itself; even if we know exactly what happened, it only begins to prepare us for the trip from hell that followed. Out of context, you could easily apply it to just about any story of two rivals or friends-turned enemies.
A tweet from @commieeangel from April 2 featured King’s original words, “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out? It’s kinda long but full of suspense,” and showcased musicians Marina and Charlie XCX. But on April 4, @jezfrompeepshow tweeted “Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out?! It’s kinda long but full of suspense,” alongside two photos of Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network. While The Social Network came out over a decade, ago, it shares some similarities with Zola: They both depict the falling-out of two people who once had a unique friendship with each other.
It didn’t take long for different versions to spread (some of which quote-tweeted a previous iteration), and soon, a copypasta meme was born.
Nearly a day later, Jeremy O. Harris, who co-wrote Zola with Bravo, posted his own version of the meme featuring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth as Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, in Wicked.
From there, the sky was the limit. If there was any kind of animosity, rivalry, or sense of betrayal between two characters, they applied.
When there is a clear hero and villain among the characters, it still works.
Soon, actors were posting the falling outs and betrayals they’ve played—and at least one beloved TV show got in on the fun.
You even have the crossover of historical and fictional with entries that showcase great films that depict real-life rivalries.
Is it a relatable line? You bet. Does it begin to capture the chaos that will ensue? In the case of many of these iterations and in Zola, not even close. But it’s also a reminder that, despite the twists and turns that Zola will make, it’s a story that enraptured us because the story of that inevitable betrayal and fallout is as old as time.
Zola will arrive in theaters on June 30, 2021.