Mississippi Grind, a character-driven drama set in New Orleans, starring Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn and Sienna Miller was written and directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who previously collaborated on the intense drama, Half Nelson, that helped launch Ryan Gosling’s career. Alice Wasley sat down with the two for a chat, which ran in The Credits.
How to approach a subject like gambling addiction as they do in Mississippi Grind without getting either frivelous or preachy, Boden says, “‘I think that what grounded us in it was just exploring these characters and following them on their journey. And their journey certainly deals with some self-destructive behavior from a gambling addict, and it also deals with the excitement of winning, but from the perspective of a gambling addict. And so as we’re grounding ourselves in these characters and exploring them, and following them on this journey, I think that our sensibility doesn’t particularly lean in one of those directions or the other.'”
Commenting on how the two collaborate, Fleck explains, “‘We start brainstorming ideas in the beginning and kind of just see what both of us get excited about. See what sticks. And then we just talk through maybe what could happen in a story. Then we separate to write. We’ll write separately and then just share pages, and it evolves from there. And we prep everything together, so when we’re on location scouting, when we’re shot listing, we go over it all so that we’re really on the same page by the time we’re shooting. If we do disagree on set we tend to do something two ways.'”