Former NFL star Marshawn Lynch accepted a role in absurd lesbian fight club comedy Bottoms because he saw it as the “universe giving him a chance to right his wrongs”.
Starring Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) and Rachel Sennott (Bodies Bodies Bodies) and directed by Emma Seligman, Bottoms features something that’s been glaringly absent from cinema for too long: horny, messy, hilarious lesbians.
The film also happens to have a famous footballer cast in it: Marshawn Lynch, also known as ‘Beast Mode’, a former NFL running back for 12 seasons.
Lynch’s character, Mr G, is an oblivious high school teacher who finds himself heading up the ‘fight club’ created by Josie and PJ, while completely unaware of their intention to use the club for sex.
In an interview with GQ, Seligman discussed how she got Lynch to agree to be in a comedy about queer teenage girls, and his beautiful reason for eventually accepting the role.
The Bottoms director said: “In our first conversation, he told me that his sister is queer and when they were in high school, he didn’t necessarily handle it super well.
“He felt like this movie coming into his hands was the universe giving him a chance to right his wrongs. That’s what he said. He walked her down the aisle. He felt like they were all good, you know?”
However, Lynch’s sister was reportedly adamant that he should take the role.
“But his sister thought it’d be really cool if he did this,” Seligman continued “We had a couple more conversations about it, and eventually he said yes!”
The cast of Bottoms. (Orion Pictures)
While it’s not unusual for comedies to feature clumsy cameos from sports personalities – and Lynch has done his fair share of playing himself in brief appearances in Brooklyn 99, The League, 80 for Brady and Netflix’s Murderville – the NFL star has an unexpectedly prominent part in Bottoms, with a full character and presence to inhabit and play with.
Lynch – who the Bottoms director praised as “naturally gentle” and “one of the most respectable actors” she has worked with – was selected based on his episode of Murderville.
Seligman heard that his performance stood out, even among professional comedians, and that he’d improvised most of the comedy.
And although Seligman admitted that she and the team hadn’t initially thought too deeply about who Lynch’s character would be or what they were trying to say with it. “We just thought it would be a really funny opportunity for someone unexpected,” she explained.
“We always wanted some man who was just kind of out of it but loves the idea of supporting women.
“He has no idea what’s going on literally in the group, but also has no idea what’s really going on in these girls’ lives and in women’s lives.”
The crew originally had the idea of casting someone similar to Jon Hamm, because of the ‘What is he doing in this film?’ effect he had in his role in Bridesmaids. But that was expected, and they wanted to do something truly unique.
Bottoms opened in US cinemas on 25 August. There is currently no official UK release date.