The best movie Zola appeared in (besides Hollywood Minute) was definitely The Dauphin, which was also one of her collaborations with Penner, a director who came from industry royalty but redeemed her reputation behind the camera after a disastrous debut in front of it (don't ask).
Penner, by the way, is the one Tim first approaches with the screenplay that will reunite Zola and Joe.
As their numerous collaborations imply, Zola and Penner became close friends quickly, trusted creative partners who could count on each other when other avenues closed to them. Zola had been part of an ensemble for Heroes and Demons, but she was the clear standout. This was early in her career. Every actor does ensemble work at some point. Sometimes it comes down to the merits of the project itself, and sometimes the director, and sometimes, because this is how it works, whether or not the actor has had general exposure previously. It's a cruel game of novelties.
And yes, The Dauphin is a period piece, which is one way Zola and Joe's careers converge even before Hollywood Minute. Stick a pretty girl in an elaborate dress, right? But the thing is, she stood out in a genre that normally swallows actors whole if they're not careful by using all conventions against themselves. In essence, Zola proved herself timeless.
Well of course. Zola's daughter will one day view this movie and wonder, Is that what she was really like? And Tim will say, She still is.
Fantasy status of Joe and Zola in relation to The Dauphin: A head above.
(By the way, the big reunion project is The Fall of Troy. You know, Paris and Helen. Troilus and Cressida.)