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Bottoms Director Wanted To Make A Teen Comedy With 'Sh*tty' Characters

'Bottoms' Director Wanted To Make Teen Movie With 'Sh*tty' Characters​

(L) Ayo Edebiri as Josie and (in front) Rachel Sennott as PJ in 'Bottoms'
Courtesy of Orion

“I wanted to make something stupid and not have it be so serious," director Emma Seligman said.

Out gay director Emma Seligman is trying to push queer cinema in a new direction by adding “sh*tty gay characters” to her sophomore feature Bottoms.

In an interview with Them just weeks ahead of the release of her new film, the director famous for her first film, Shiva Baby, says she wanted to make a raunchier, hornier queer movie akin to teen sex comedies like Superbad and American Pie.

“The only queer teen representation I’d seen on screen had been very tame and sweet, and I just wanted to see shitty gay characters,” Seligman said in the interview. “I wanted to make something gay and stupid and not have it be so serious. Also, I wanted to make a hero story. Something with fighting and edginess. Something kind of unexpected.”

The 28-year-old director said that while Bottoms— about two unpopular lesbians who start an all-girls fight club in a hilarious plan to lose their virginities to cheerleaders before heading off to college — was inspired by those older teen sex romp movies, but her film is something new.

“But it’s not totally copying those movies,” Seligman explained. “Those are just the [teen movies] that are most explicitly, like, ‘I want to fuck!’ And I wanted to give queer girls, or queer people in general, the chance to also be that shallow and corny and debaucherous.”

In the past a lot of LGBTQ+ representation in film was focused on coming out stories, dealing with hate, and the trauma of being gay, it was rarely raunchy or filled with imperfect “shitty gay characters” like in Seligman’s new film.

“I just wanted to have relatable queer characters onscreen,” Seligman told Rolling Stone in June. “We’ve made so many strides in queer representation, but I’m excited to see more, especially teen queer characters that have sex drives and are horny and flawed and not just these innocent beings that are either being traumatized or having the most sweet, PG love story.”

Main characters PJ, played by Rachel Sennott who also co-wrote the film with Seligman, and her best friend Josie (Ayo Edebiri) are allowed to be shallow and rude in a film that both writers wanted to focus on imperfect queer female characters.

“That was really important to me and Emma,” Sennott said in the Rolling Stone article, “letting female characters and queer characters be kind of the worst. I mean, I love [PJ and Josie], I think they’re the best, but they’re also so annoying.”

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.