TV & Film | Sports
Retired NFL running back Marshawn Lynch shared that his queer sister, Marreesha Sapp-Lynch, inspired him to accept a starring role in the LGBTQ+ comedy, Bottoms.
Bottoms is a coming-of-age comedy about two lesbian teenagers Josie and PJ, played by Ayo Edebiri, & Rachel Sennott, who start a fight club under the guise of female self-empowerment as a way to lose their virginity to the high school cheerleaders before graduation.
Marshawn Lynch, famously nicknamed “Beast Mode”, has made several appearances on the small screen in shows like Westworld, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Murderville. However, in a majority of those productions, he is playing himself and has never starred in a film.
In his movie debut, in Bottoms, Lynch plays Mr. G, an aloof substitute teacher who Josie and PJ ask to be a club sponsor for their fake fight club. Within the first two weeks of the film’s release, he has already received praise for his performance as Mr. G. Although Lynch’s role as the lovable, arguably “amplified version” of himself seemed like a natural fit, initially, he was apprehensive in taking the part.
In the process of searching for an actor to play the role of Mr. G, President of Orion Pictures, Alana Mayo referenced Marshawn Lynch’s Murderville episode, which was toted as one of the funniest in the series. Murderville is a purely improvisational comedy and Lynch managed to outshine the comedians just by being himself. Impressed by his performance, Bottoms director Emma Seligman contacted him to offer the role in the lesbian comedy.
During their initial conversations about the role, Lynch revealed to Seligman that his sister is gay and when she came out when they were in high school, he “did not handle it the way he should have”. He viewed the offer as an opportunity from the universe to “correct his wrongs” from his initial reaction to his sister’s coming out.
While deciding on whether to confirm the offer, Lynch consulted his sister Marreesha Sapp-Lynch for her opinion before eventually accepting the role.
“From the beginning when he read the script, he said that I came to mind…I was like, most definitely you should do it. I just told him, it’ll get you to understand, get more knowledge about the lesbian community," said Marreesha Sapp-Lynch.
Beyond their high school years, Sapp-Lynch shares that her brother has been celebratory of her being gay, helped plan her 2021 wedding to her wife Brandee Sapp, and walked her down the aisle.
“I asked him to walk me down the aisle because our dad passed away…he cried the whole time…the fact that he did cry and shed some tears, it meant a lot to me” - Marreesha Sapp-Lynch
In a full circle moment, Lynch’s sister also says that seeing a movie full of gay characters like Bottoms while coming out in high school, “would’ve helped me feel easier, make me feel better about me being who I am”.
As a famous, Black, straight, cis man, and football star - Marshawn Lynch’s contribution to such a gay-friendly film marks a significant moment in film history. It is a rarity to have a coming-of-age film like Bottoms center on two gay characters and even more of a rarity to have an iconic NFL figure like Lynch serve as an active, openly supportive system for gay people both in film and in reality.
Hopefully his example will serve as a positive precedent for Black, straight men to not just affirm, but be an active part in the affirmation of all LGBTQ+ people, especially the individuals in their lives. To all the cis-hets out there, take notes!
Bottoms was released on August 25 and is currently in theaters.
Watch the Trailer Below: