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Even though I quite enjoyed Two Guys and Girl (a.k.a. Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place), at some point I realized Ryan Reynolds has never been on my list of actors whose projects I’m actively interested in. It wasn’t Green Lantern, because I was already there by that point. I think It was when he signed on to star in Buried that I realized spending an entire movie with him sounded less than satisfactory. (Incidentally, it was a better flick than I thought it would be-- so my instincts aren't necessarily correct.) I’m not trying to rip the guy a new one here, because he’s a fine performer by all means. I’m just saying Mississippi Grind now sounds like a much different movie than the one I’d been envisioning.
Deadline recently reported Reynolds has joined Electric City’s Mississippi Grind, taking a role that Jake Gyllenhaal was in talks for last year. The film will be written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who helmed Ryan Gosling’s Oscar-nominated performance in 2006’s Half Nelson. Could they bring Reynolds the same kind of acclaim? I mean, they scored a winning and non-stereotypical performance from Zach Galifianakis in 2010’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story.
Maybe the “Ryan Reynolds smirk” can be wiped from my memory banks. But probably not, since it sounds like he’ll be playing a smarmy kind of character. (I may or may not have Rounders in my head while writing this, projecting an amalgamation of Matt Damon and Edward Norton onto Reynolds. What is my problem?)
Ben Mendelsohn is already on board, playing a gambler whose losing streak is taking its toll. He decides to team up with Reynolds’ younger gambling addict to take a road trip through the South, hoping to rake in the cash and leave the bad luck behind them.
Now that I’ve spent ten minutes picturing Reynolds and Mendelsohn working together, I’ve grown a percentage point or two more interested. After all, I actually can’t wait to see Reynolds play opposite a grizzled Jeff Bridges in the comic adaptation R.I.P.D., because that’s precisely the over-the-top kind of film I don’t mind him in. (Just give us Deadpool already!)
And his other upcoming projects sound pretty good as well, including Atom Egoyan’s kidnapping thriller Queen of the Night and Marjane Satrapi’s psychological thriller The Voices. He’s also attached to join director Tarsem Singh for a body-switching sci-fi thriller called Selfless, which should pair well with DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, am I right?
Production is set to begin on Mississippi Grind early next year. In the meantime, check out Reynolds holding his big gun in the R.I.P.D. trailer below.