On a new episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing Monday, star Adam Sandler broke down the gambling addiction struggle at the center of the A24 film's story. He also credited his wife Jackie Titone with encouraging him to take on the challenging (but clearly quite rewarding) role of Diamond District jeweler Howard Ratner.
"[Howard] kinda has a gambling addiction," Sandler explained when asked to detail the film for the audience. "He kinda can't stop gambling. He has a wife and kids but he's not very good to his family. The addiction is ruining everything. He gets this gem from Africa and Kevin Garnett, who's a great basketball player and he's great in the movie also, he comes to the shop. He falls in love with the gem and [the movie is] just in and out of Kevin having the gem, me needing the gem back, and me placing bets."
Sandler also praised the direction of Josh and Benny Safdie, who co-directed the critical hit and wrote the script with Ronald Bronstein, and said he's "glad" he was able to be a part of it. Taking on the Howard lifestyle, however, didn't come without a small dose of fear and hesitation.
"I read it and I loved the movie but I was scared to do it," Sandler said. "And then I asked Jackie to read it. We do this together—me and Jackie, movies, you know—we discuss what I'm gonna do and she gives me strength and courage to jump into this stuff. So she read it and she's like 'You have to do it!' and right when she says I have to do it I go 'OK, man! I'm in there' and I jumped in. I had to do so many scenes where bad things happen and I have to be naked and stuff—and that's terrible for everybody—but, anyway, it was an amazing time."