Marshawn Lynch is a seemingly unlikely star of the queer teen comedy “Bottoms,” but it turns out the former NFL running back has a personal connection to the story: his sister, Marreesha Sapp-Lynch, came out in high school.
The movie’s director Emma Seligman told People, “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 continued, “He made it seem like that was really what was interesting him the most about it.”
Sapp-Lynch echoed Selgiman’s comments in the interview and told the outlet, “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.'”
She added that while her mother wasn’t surprised when she came out, Sapp-Lynch’s dad and brothers struggled.
Lynch felt responsible for his sister’s sexuality and implied that somehow something might have gone wrong for her. She explained, “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,'” Sapp-Lynch continued. “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!”
Lynch is close with his sister and her partner, and he even played a big role in their 2021 wedding. In addition to many early morning phone calls about “cake designs and party favors,” Lynch also walked Sapp-Lynch down the aisle.
Seligman told the outlet that Lynch “kept bringing up Marreesha” throughout the filming of the movie. The director said, “He kept on being like, ‘That’s my sister.’ In a way where it was like a proud parent [of queer kids] — a proud brother.”
The director also appreciated Lynch’s decision to take on the role of Mr. G, who heads a feminist after-school club, for a different reason. She explained, “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.”
“Marshawn in the movie,” she concluded, “beyond him being a wonderful actor and improviser and a lovely human being, it is wild that it might be seen by so many more people who wouldn’t have otherwise seen it.”
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