Tight-lipped Marshawn Lynch to tell his own tale via movie

CONTRA COSTA TIMESMay 16, 2014 

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch warms up before the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014.

JOE BARRENTINE — TACOMA NEWS-TRIBUNE

Super Bowl champion Marshawn Lynch, an Oakland native and running back for the Seattle Seahawks, is known for not talking to the media. He has decided to break that silence.

He's using a different medium though.

Lynch is starring in a biopic about himself. "Family First" will chronicle his rise from Oakland youth to NFL star.

"Just trying something new," Lynch said.

Family First will also feature NFL quarterback Josh Johnson, a childhood friend of Lynch who signed with the 49ers on Thursday. Actor Delroy Lindo, an Oakland resident, may also be in the movie. Relativity Media has already purchased the rights to the PG-13 film, which is slated for release at the end of the calendar year.

He is affectionately known as "Beast Mode" because of his hard-nosed style of play. But before he takes the field for his ninth season, he's going to show his soft side.

Many don't know how playful and down-to-earth Lynch can be. He was on hand to spectate the casting call in April. But he couldn't contain himself just watching and wound up jumping into skits with random auditioners.

He went all out playing dead after being shot in an improvisational scene.

"For me, it's just about having some fun," Lynch said. "It's just a fun experience. I also get to the shine light on the community and some of the things that we grew up doing and what we went through." Lynch often comes off as abrasive and ornery. And it fits the hardcore persona that makes him a beloved figure, especially in Seattle. But the four-time Pro Bowler says the media gets too caught up in that narrative.

He believes he's stereotyped for his dreadlocks and gold teeth and inner-city mannerisms, which explains why his mistakes get more attention than his good deeds. So Lynch is looking to put his story in context through this movie.

"Most people don't know how much he cares," said director Mario Bobino of Debonair Production, who is co-producing the film with Ramasses Head. "Marshawn is very human. He is passionate about family. He is passionate about Oakland, about Cal. He has a great desire to do good things for the youth of the community. That's the side of Marshawn people don't see."

The project is a coming-of-age film that embarks on a journey through Lynch's life. It will chronicle his childhood years and his growth as a football player -- his triumphs at Oakland Tech, his break into stardom at Cal, his NFL growth capped with a championship this year.

But mostly, it will reveal the context of what shaped him. His struggles. His triumphs. His mistakes. His family.

And he wants to tell it, even if it means making himself vulnerable to the cameras and critics.

"I'm more than ready to play myself," Lynch said with a laugh. "I got the acting bug when I played a small role in Matt's Chance starring Gary Busey.I definitely want to expand my opportunities after football. I've also been on a couple TV shows, so I'm not nervous."

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