Director Emma Seligman discusses her unique take on high school comedy with the acclaimed film 'Bottoms', which features former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch in his debut role.

Emma Seligman Unveils the Making of 'Bottoms'

Bringing a touch of the extraordinary to the typical high-school-crush narrative, director Emma Seligman's latest film ‘Bottoms’ centers around two high school students, PJ and Josie. Labeling themselves as "ugly, untalented gays", they take an unconventional route to impress their heterosexual crushes: setting up a fight club and creating a false narrative of a criminal summer break.

Premiering on Prime Video outside of the US, the second feature from 'Shiva Baby' director Seligman had an uncertain UK release date. However, the director expressed her contentment when the film eventually crossed the Atlantic. Seligman felt that the UK audiences might admire her film for their offbeat approach to high-school comedy.

The film 'Bottoms' had generated considerable digital buzz since its announcement in 2021, leading to its international theater run. Seligman acknowledges enthusiastic online support from primarily young women and queer individuals as instrumental for her dual successes. She regards this organic digital conversation surrounding her films as a mark of their success.

'Bottoms' deviates considerably from Seligman's debut feature, 'Shiva Baby.' While the former is a ribald high-school comedy, the latter uncovers humor in the midst of a tense, claustrophobic situation. Both films tie together through their exploration of queerness, sex, and a sense of suburban confinement. Seligman's decision to further examine these themes in 'Bottoms' was not a conscious effort. As a 22-year-old, she used her limited life experiences surrounding validation, acceptance, love, and dating to shape the narratives for her movies.

In 'Bottoms', Seligman employs nostalgic parody elements from the '90s and early '00s teen films. With an array of classics like 'Saved!', 'Bring It On', and 'She's The Man' serving as her inspirations, she successfully puts together a visually nostalgic but conceptually unique presentation. She also incorporates certain aspects of action films, which she found empowering, albeit challenging, to film.

An interesting casting choice in the film is the former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, portraying Mr. G, a newly divorced and clueless faculty member. Seligman confesses that she had no idea who Lynch was until she saw his episode of improv comedy Murderville. His performance convinced her enough to offer him the role in her film. Lynch surprised Seligman by accepting the role as an homage to his queer sister.

The soundtrack of 'Bottoms' is another striking feature, meticulously woven into the film’s narrative. It was composed by hyperpop singer-songwriter, Charli XCX, who previously connected with Seligman through her admiration for 'Shiva Baby'.

'Bottoms’ captures the essence of high-school drama in a refreshing, bold, and entertaining way. Director Seligman, like her characters PJ and Josie, was fearless in executing her vision. Unfazed by initial rejections, she landed the opportunity to partner with Charli XCX and witnessed immense appreciation for her film on social media. The film resonates with the mantra of "Shoot your shot", serving as an inspiring representation for a young, queer narrative. Despite a bumpy start, 'Bottoms' finally hit the UK cinemas on November 3, marking another milestone in Seligman's successful filmmaking journey.

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