Is Bottoms Based on a True Story?

The Emma Seligman directorial, ‘Bottoms,’ stars Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri as PJ and Josie, respectively, two queer friends who hope to get laid and lose their virginities before they graduate from school. Desperate to fulfill their wish, they come up with the idea of forming a fight club for their girl schoolmates and using it as a disguise to hook up with the school’s cheerleaders.

As the fight club is joined by the popular girls and used as an excuse to beat each other up, PJ and Josie find themselves in deep trouble as they must look for a way out before their true reason for starting the club in the first place is known to everyone. Since the teen sex comedy film explores some true-to-life themes and elements, including the complications of teenage school life, you are highly likely to question the authenticity of ‘Bottoms.’ Well, we have gathered all the information to eliminate your curiosity once and for all!

Is Bottoms a True Story?

No, ‘Bottoms’ is not based on a true story. Instead, the credit for the raunchy and queer-based storyline goes to the two screenwriters — Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott — who made the most of their extraordinary writing skills, creative minds, and experience in the industry to conjure up the screenplay for the comedy film. When it comes to the absurdity and heightened tone of the movie, Seligman stated that she had to adapt to Rachel’s sense of humor as it originated mainly from the latter’s sensibilities.

Moreover, there is no denying that the two writers sprinkled some authenticity into ‘Bottoms’ by pouring some of their high school experiences. Rachel admitted that her experience was somewhat closer to the movie’s experience than Seligman’s because she grew up in a small American town where sports was given huge importance. During a conversation with Indie Wire in August 2023, she stated, “…I remember hearing stuff like, ‘Well, they cut the costume budget so that the football players could have more whatever.’ Our football team never won a game, but everyone would go to the games.”

Rachel expanded, “We put that in (the film), where everyone’s obsessed with the football players, but then when you see them practicing in the background, you’re like, what are they doing? They can’t play the game.” Regarding references and inspirations, Rachel and Seligman had quite a few different movies in their minds, including ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,’ ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ and ‘Jawbreaker.’ Yet, they did not entirely focus on any one of these films and decided to devise a mashup of genres, giving birth to a campy high school film with lots of action.

Rachel and Seligman were asked directly about the inspiration behind ‘Bottoms’ in a March 2023 interview with Alternative Press. Seligman replied first, “…With Rachel being a Virgo, she was like, ‘What’s your plan? What other projects do you have, and what’s your timeline?’ I was like, ‘I have one comedy idea, and I want it to be a queer teen sex comedy for queer girls.’ But also, I wanted them to be heroes who save the day and fight in some capacity. That’s all I had for her, and she was like, ‘Great. I want to see horny women,’ and came at it from her perspective. Then we hit the ground running.”

Then, Rachel shared her views on the same question, “We knew the feeling of what we wanted to make, too. Then we went and brainstormed ideas. There was this giant whiteboard where we had a photo of us in front of it, and we wrote out everything we wanted to put in a movie. It’s so freeing when you’re like, ‘We want to have a bomb, we want them to egg a house, and the girls are going to be punching each other!’ It felt like, for me, so much excitement and joy to feel that creatively together. The movie came out of that.” All in all, it would be safe to say that even though some elements might reflect authenticity, it doesn’t change the fact that ‘Bottoms’ is a work of fiction.

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