Oscar-winning deaf actor Troy Kotsur will sign the American national anthem at the Super Bowl, it has been announced.
The Coda star is one of three official ASL translators for the event — the largest on the U.S. sports calendar — taking place in Arizona on Sunday.
Kotsur said he would be channeling the anthem’s writer, Francis Scott Key, during his performance.
At a pre-game conference, he told the audience that he was “proud to have been born and raised” in his hometown of Mesa, Arizona, and was “honored” to sign the national anthem.
“The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) invited me here and it’s so great to see this diversity represent different types of deaf communities,” he said.
“And when they asked me ‘hey Troy, would you mind signing the national anthem at the Super Bowl?’ I said, ‘yes, sure. I’m in’.”
The actor added that he had been researching Key to learn more about the history and motivation behind the American national anthem — and that he would put himself in the writer’s shoes during his performance.
“It’s a really fascinating story because he actually witnessed what happened during the Revolutionary War and saw that the flag was still there, and the smoke and the fire and despite everything, the flag was still there and so it inspired him to write this song to write. ,” he said.
“And so I become Francis and put myself in his shoes and tell it from his perspective.
“So that’s how I’m going to sign it. It’s a new look. And I really want to help influence me in my ASL translation of the song and so I’m Francis Scott Key.
“I’m going to show you everything I see and what he wrote, which was pure poetry, and I’m going to add my personality as an artist, and put it all out there to show you all of my work.
“I’m looking forward to it… It will be fun for me. After reading it, you know, I actually felt even more proud to be an American to tell you the truth.
In typical fashion, Kotsur ended his remarks in a joking manner, shouting at his wife and daughter and telling his two older brothers that he would soon beat them at golf.
The actor was part of the cast of Coda – about a family of deaf fishermen – which won the coveted Oscar for best picture in 2022.
Kotsur’s own performance earned him a slew of Best Supporting Actor awards, including at the Oscars, Screen Actors Guild, Baftas, and Critics Choice Awards.