Marshawn Lynch has rapidly climbed up the walls of sports infamy in the past year, taking his earned moniker of "Beast Mode" to the next level with a career revitalization with the Seahawks since being acquired from the Bills via trade in 2010.
But last year, without many fans taking notice, he slipped into another arena. He was tapped by local filmmaker Nicholas Gyeney to play a minor role in the independent film "Matt's Chance," featuring Edward Furlong, Margot Kidder, and everyone's favorite nutjob, Gary Busey.
The movie debuted Oct. 25 at the Egyptian Theater in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, and Beast Mode himself was among the featured guests to walk the red carpet. (Sadly, no Busey. Can you imagine those two having a conversation? I'd have donated season tickets for that.)
When Marshawn stepped out of the limo, he was greeted by a chorus of chants and howls from a small nucleus of fans that had gathered around the scene. I'm not really sure if they were all there for the movie or not, but word travels fast in this neighborhood. If Marshawn Lynch is going to hanging around on a random weeknight, that's news that can only be kept quiet for so long.
I was among the guests in the VIP area with a friend (thanks, Sophia) and actually had a chance to talk to Marshawn for a little while before the film started. And let's get one thing straight here - Marshawn is every bit as much of a character as advertised. On the field, we see a lean, swift-moving, tackle-breaking war machine who doesn't care how many defenders stack the box to stop him at the goal line. He'll plow through them, throw stiff-arms with reckless abandon and dare the entire defense to take him out.
But off the field, he's affable, funny, and personable. His fans aren't just nameless faces who crowd him and constantly annoy him. You can tell the man actually appreciates the attention and praise he gets from his fans. Just the sight of him talking to a little kid, exclaiming "Damn, whatchoo feedin' this one?!" to his parents pretty much told the whole story.
I walked up to Marshawn and introduced myself. This was the result:
"Matt's Chance" itself was extremely well-received to a packed house during the screening. It's a dark comedy about Matt, played by Furlong, who discovers the love of his life cheating on him with his sworn enemy, and how far down the trail of revenge Matt will go to mend a broken heart. It's dark, but often hilarious and completely from out of left field. Seattle comedian and actor Edi Zanidache plays Matt's best friend - a preacher with a tendency to party too hard - and the two have some pretty entertaining moments on screen.
Marshawn plays a part credited simply as "Huge Goon #1," and has a few lines that are genuinely priceless. I won't repeat them here for the sake of good taste. Just catch the movie when it's around again.
The movie will not be viewable again for quite some time, sadly, as Gyeney told the crowd after the showing. He'll be working to get it to SIFF, and hopefully the Sundance Film Festival in Utah if it's reviewed favorably enough. When it does resurface, though, be sure to keep an eye out for it, because it's worth watching.
The added bonus of Beast Mode running around, sneering and roughing people up is worth the price of admission alone.