Bottoms’ Fight Scenes Were Influenced By The World’s End


by Jordan King |
Published on

As elevator pitches go, “Queer, feminist Fight Club in a high-school” is a pretty wild one. But if anyone can pull it off, then it’s writer-director Emma Seligman, whose debut feature Shiva Baby took a similarly nuts idea – “young woman’s sugar daddy turns up at a Jewish post-funeral service” – and spun it into a hilarious, cringe-inducing, altogether unforgettable romp. Already a summer hit stateside, Bottoms sees teens PJ (Rachel Sennott) and Josie (The Bear’s Ayo Edibiri) start a fight-club among the girls at their school, under the ruse of being to teach them self-defence. But what starts off as a hair-brained scheme to lose their virginities soon, inevitably, spirals out of control.

Speaking to Empire exclusively for our December 2023 issue, director Seligman describes how, in order to get her cast fighting fit, she sent them on a week-long boot camp. “It felt very much like the kind of fight club that the girls were [pretending] to create sometimes. They genuinely had a lot of support for each other,” Seligman says of the experience, which successfully turned her ensemble into convincing, camera-ready combatants. However, conscious of the fact Bottoms is a high-school comedy and not John Wick, Seligman turned to Cornetto Trilogy mastermind Edgar Wright for inspiration when it came to balancing punches with punchlines. “The World’s End [was] a big reference because of the way the fight sequences are designed,” explains Seligman. “There’s a lot of humour and style in the way that [Wright] does his fight choreography.”

Another, perhaps more unlikely source of inspiration for Seligman came in the shape of Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917, which the director cites as having been a major influence on Bottoms’ breathless climax. The sequence, which sees the cast’s newfound fighting prowess really put to the test, is one Seligman had to push hard for – but the filmmaker wasn’t going to blink first when it came to giving her group the finale they deserved. “There was a lot I died on a hill for [when it came to] that sequence,” Seligman laughs.

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Read Empire’s exclusive new interview with Emma Seligman in our Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom issue – on sale in stores and online now. Bottoms releases in UK cinemas on 3 November.

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