Meg Ryan Finally Has a New Rom-Com on the Way, But Where Has She Been These Past Few Years?
Meg Ryan is set to break her eight-year acting hiatus with the upcoming film What Happens Later.
"Sometimes there's a question of: Will they be together? Will they not be together? For that reason, [What Happens Later] sort of evolves the rom-com genre just a little bit. It's also about old people, and it's still romantic and sexy," the '90s rom-com queen told Entertainment Weekly about the upcoming movie, which she co-wrote and directed.
Ryan's directorial approach was inspired by iconic filmmaker Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed some of Ryan's most iconic films in the '90s.
"It has a relationship to movies from the '40s, like Bringing Up Baby, in terms of the banter and the rhythm of things and a lot of that era of filmmaking. Nora Ephron used to say about rom-coms that they were really a secretly incredible delivery system to comment on the times, and we do that in this movie," Ryan said.
Meg Ryan Was an A-List Star in the '90s
Meg Ryan made a splash in Hollywood in the '80s, but her career as a rom-com leading lady truly kicked off in 1989, when she co-starred alongside Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. She went on to star in 1993's Sleepless in Seattle with Tom Hanks, and the duo returned to the big screen for You've Got Mail in 1998.
Throughout the '90s, Ryan also starred in Joe Versus the Volcano, Prelude to a Kiss, City of Angels, French Kiss, Addicted to Love and When a Man Loves a Woman. She also provided the voice of Anastasia in the hit 1997 animated film of the same name.
Ryan's legacy as a rom-com icon, as well as America's Sweetheart, was cemented when a critic for Time called her "the current soul of romantic comedy" in 1995.
Why Did Meg Ryan Quit Hollywood?
According to Yahoo! Entertainment, Meg Ryan took a step back from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood in the late 2000s to "figure out" who she was outside of her acting career.
"I didn't really aim to be an actor. I was a journalism major at school and a curious person, and I wanted to go back out into the world and figure out who I was — am — in relation to other things and other people and other environments," Ryan said during a rare public appearance at a Gwyneth Paltrow Goop event in 2018.
In 2019, Ryan told The New York Times that one of the reasons she left Hollywood was because she was burnt out. "I didn't feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated," she shared.
Ryan stopped acting in 2009. She returned for the film Ithaca in 2015, which she also directed, before going back on hiatus from Hollywood.
What Is Meg Ryan Doing Now?
In 2023, Meg Ryan is set to star in a new rom-com called What Happens Later, which is her second directorial effort.
The actress most recently appeared onscreen via archival footage in the 2022 blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick.
In her personal life, Ryan has raised two children: The Boys star Jack, 31, whose dad is Dennis Quaid, and Daisy, 19, whom she adopted from China in 2006.
In 2019, Ryan told People her priority was her family. "Most of all, what I'm ambitious for in the 12 hours a day that I'm awake is my kids' happiness. I just am. I'm either figuring out how to provide for them, figuring out how to say it right, figuring out all those mom things. I want them to be happy," she shared.
What Is Meg Ryan's New Movie About?
What Happens Later follows ex-lovers Willa (Meg Ryan) and Bill (David Duchovny) who become stranded in an airport overnight. The pair unravel their complicated past and begin to wonder if their situation is coincidental or guided by fate.
The film is based on Steven Dietz's play Shooting Star.
What Happens Later is out in theaters Oct. 13.