“It just won’t kill you the way crystal meth will”: Ryan Reynolds Believes Gambling is Better than Drug Addiction

The Deadpool star was featured in the film Mississippi Grind, where he played the role of a young gambler going along with an addict.

“It just won't kill you the way crystal meth will": Ryan Reynolds Believes Gambling is Better than Drug Addiction


  • Ryan Reynolds starred along with Ben Mendelsohn in the comedy-drama film Mississippi Grind, in which they played gamblers.
  • The film, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, was reportedly shot in real gambling dens and the actors lost actual money.
  • Reynolds mentioned that he saw real gambling addiction when he was filming and felt that it was better than being addicted to drugs.
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While Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds pushed mountains to get the Marvel film made, he has shown equal commitment to his other roles that were not part of a billion-dollar franchise. The actor starred along with fellow MCU co-star Ben Mendelsohn in the comedy-drama Mississippi Grind, where the duo played the roles of gamblers.


Reynolds revealed that the two had gone on a road trip to find the shadiest gambling bars to research their characters. The Free Guy star said that they came across a wide range of characters when they visited these bars that were far from the luxurious casinos in Las Vegas. He also mentioned how people were addicted to gambling and how similar it was to drug addiction.

Ryan Reynolds Was Not Recognized In Gambling Dens

Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in Mississippi Grind
Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in Mississippi Grind

Director duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck reportedly discovered the world of gambling when they were making another film, Sugar. The duo are known for their Academy Award-nominated film, Half Nelson and the comedy-drama, It’s Kind of a Funny Story


According to USA Today, Boden and Fleck discovered riverboat gambling when they were in Iowa, filming Sugar. Boden revealed,

“They were these dark, divey little places, which were so unlike the casinos in Las Vegas. People are there either grinding out a living (playing) at the poker table or just sitting at the slot machines, using their paychecks. The characters really fascinated us. We filed away that location and the people who inhabit it.”

The filmmaking duo then reportedly went on a road trip to research on gambling dens in the USA, going from New Orleans to Iowa. The resulting script was the film Mississippi Grind, which followed the story of a down-on-his-luck gambling addict who teams up with a young gambler to win back money he has lost.

A still from Mississippi Grind
A still from Mississippi Grind

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds starred in the film. While Jake Gyllenhaal was reportedly set to star in the film, Reynolds soon replaced him (via Deadline). The Deadpool star mentioned that he was immediately drawn to the script and signed on. 


Ryan Reynolds also mentioned that when the actors shot in real gambling dens, he was not recognized. He said to USA Today,

“I got a lot of ‘I know you from somewhere — where have we met before?’ Or they thought I was one of their friends’ kids.”

Mississippi Grind premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and also had premiers at international festivals such as Melbourne and Karlovy Vary.

Ryan Reynolds Felt Gambling Addiction Was Better Than Drug Addiction

Ryan Reynolds in Mississippi Grind
Ryan Reynolds in Mississippi Grind

The Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn starrer Mississippi Grind was reportedly made with a modest budget of $7.1 million. Due to the low-budget nature of the film, it was filmed in real locations and involved Reynolds and Mendelsohn visiting real gambling bars and playing games. The actors were reportedly fascinated by the type of people they came across.


In an interview with Details Magazine (via Malay Mail), Ryan Reynolds spoke about how he saw gambling addicts and tried to figure out how they functioned. He said,

“I also found something interesting about that world. I’m a 38-year-old male working in Hollywood, I’ve been around some drugs in my day, and it’s the same thing. Really hardcore gamblers are not addicted to winning at gambling; they’re addicted to losing at gambling.” 

The Deadpool and Wolverine star went on to say that he found drug addiction to be far worse than a gambling addiction as the latter did not kill a person the same way. He mentioned how he came across a person who got over substance abuse due to his gambling addiction. He said,

“One of the guys that we were working with had a long history of substance abuse and the thing that saved his life was poker. He still gets high, he still gets low. And it really is a nice substitute for that. It just won’t kill you the way crystal meth will.”

Ryan Reynolds also mentioned how he figured out the way gambling addiction worked and was fascinated by it. He mentioned that winning a game gave such a high that one had to lose everything to get that high again after winning.


Mississippi Grind is streaming on Apple TV.


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 989

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.