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‘Bottoms’ | Anatomy of a Scene

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Hi, my name is Emma Seligman. And I’m the director of ‘Bottoms’. [MUSIC PLAYING] So in this scene, PJ, played by Rachel Sennott, and Josie, played by Ayo Adebiri, are about to go to their first fight club meeting. And he’s spent his time convincing hot girls to join the club. But they are about to find that the meeting attendees are not who they expected. “I love David Fincher.” “Oh my god.” “we will see.” “I think Sylvie would be prettier if she lost her braces and stopped throwing paint.” “She’ll never stop enjoying paint.” So for this scene, I found it really important to decide what these girls are going to do, so that they have no idea what they’re doing. So I wanted her to feel the concern of all the girls who came to her hoping to learn self-defense and asking her for advice and tips once they had decided they knew how to fight. “We’re going to start with dropkicks, tackling, a little bit of knife play, then punch bucket, which is when we throw you in the bucket and we punch you until you bleed.” “Before that, maybe the vibes, the ice breakers, and the trust drops.” What was written in the script here was that PJ is reminding the girls that they went to juvie, which is a lie and a rumor that has been started in the school. And she’s using the fact that these girls think they went to Zooey’s to her advantage. And they’re making up stories. And so here she is asking Josie to join in and Juvie to tell a story of her own. Zooey was mad. Once a girl tried to kill me by giving me rat poison, so I took her outside and punched her until she died. Josie is not that good at lying. And so she makes up this story that it gets out of control where she killed a girl. Rachel and Ayo are amazing improvisers and they’ve had fun creating different versions of this, as well as improvising the way they inspire each other. Rachel definitely improved how she persuades Josie to punch out. “what’s the problem?” “No problem, I just – I’m not going to do it.” “Come on, they want to see the punch.” “They don’t want to see it.” “They want to see – see them. (whispers) They don’t want that.” “They want to see the punch.” “Who am I going to punch?” “Hit me. Just punch me.” “Kill you?” “Yeah come on.” “Can I punch you?” “Yeah, I know how to punch. Some people will always say, ‘PJ knows how to throw a punch.’ Come on. Oh. Ahh.” It took a lot of effort to sell this punch. Getting the angle right, and getting the fist to block Rachel’s nose appropriately where it needed to go, was quite a challenge for some reason.

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