Marshawn Lynch was inspired by his sister to take on role in LGBTQ+ comedy ‘Bottoms’

Written by on September 4, 2023

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Retired NFL legend Marshawn Lynch’s latest acting venture is in honor of his sister.

The 2013 Super Bowl champion graces the big screen in the newly-released “Bottoms,” an LGBTQ+ coming-of-age film, starring Ayo Edebiri and Rachel Sennott, about teen girls who launch an after-school feminist fight club.

The film, which director Emma Seligman said she co-wrote with Sennott to represent queer stories in a light-hearted comedy, instantly reminded Lynch of his sister, Marreesha Sapp-Lynch, who came out as lesbian while in high school, People reported.

Marshawn Lynch stars as Mr. G in “Bottoms,” in theaters now. (Screenshot: Youtube – MGM)

“From the beginning when he read the script, he said that I came to mind,” Sapp-Lynch told the outlet, recalling her brother asking her advice whether or not he should take on the role.

“I was like, ‘Most definitely you should do it,’” she said. “I just told him, ‘It’ll get you to understand, get more knowledge about the lesbian community.’”

Lynch, 37, stars as Mr. G, a lovably aloof teacher who learns more about queer allyship as the supervisor for the after-school club launched by PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Edebiri).

The 34-year-old Sapp-Lynch opened up about her experience coming out to her family years ago. Her mother, Delisa, instantly embraced her queerness, though it took time for brothers David, Marshawn and Davonte to process the news.

“They were understanding, but they didn’t understand,” Sapp-Lynch told People. “Marshawn had a lot of questions and was thinking it was his fault: ‘What did I do?’ Because growing up he would always say I couldn’t have a boyfriend, ‘You can’t talk to boys.’ We’d go to a party and he’d be asking everybody, ‘Did you dance with my sister?’ But I wasn’t attracted to boys, so I didn’t dance with them!”

In the years since, Marshawn has grown supportive and proud of his sister’s queerness, Sapp-Lynch explained. The former Seahawks running back was in tears as he walked his sister down the aisle at her wedding in 2021, which he enthusiastically helped plan, she recalled.

“I asked him to walk me down the aisle because our dad passed away,” Sapp-Lynch told the magazine. “He cried the whole time.”

“He doesn’t cry — or I don’t see him cry. The fact that he did cry and shed some tears, it meant a lot to me,” she said.

Seligman, 28, said that she was initially surprised Lynch was seriously considering the role, but after talking to him about it, she saw there was a personal connection “beyond him wanting to be in a funny movie or something.”

“In his words, he said he wasn’t amazing about it when Marreesha came out in high school and that he felt like this was the universe giving him a chance to right his wrongs,” Seligman told People. “He made it seem like that was really what was interesting him the most about it.”

She said Lynch continuously talked about his sister like a “proud brother” while shooting the film, particularly when Sapp-Lynch and her wife came to visit the set. Seligman recalls: “He kept on being like, ‘That’s my sister.’”

Sapp-Lynch told People that if a film like “Bottoms” had been released during her high school years as she was navigating her sexuality, it “would’ve helped me make me feel easier, make me feel better about me being who I am.” 

“Just having queer characters in something so silly and that’s not serious feels subversive,” Seligman told the outlet. “I don’t think we’re trying to prove anything political or have some sort of deeper message or meaning out of the movie. Other than ‘Gay people can be funny, sexy and horny, and that’s normal.’ Sometimes just normalizing something is enough.”

She adds that Lynch being in the film may widen the audience to people who may not have gone to see it otherwise.

“To have a legendary football player like him playing this character that’s getting to know this subsection of this town, and see them as real people with valid desires and hormones and feelings — that’s pretty cool that Marshawn is representing that kind of straight, male character.”

“Bottoms” is in theaters now.

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