In a world where feel-good movies offer that magical “tingle” that warms the heart, Meg Ryan’s daughter Daisy knows the sensation well. The acclaimed writer, director, and actress, now 61, shares her daughter’s love for those cinematic moments that leave you with an open heart. This week, PEOPLE‘s cover story unveils Meg Ryan’s return to the spotlight and her latest venture in the world of romantic comedy.
Meg Ryan is a name synonymous with classic rom-coms like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. Her charming performances made her the perennial queen of romantic comedies. However, she is not limited to the genre, having also found success in dramatic films such as When a Man Loves a Woman and Courage Under Fire.
Taking A Step Back
As her fame grew, so did her determination to take a step back from the spotlight. “I took a giant break because I felt like there’s just so many other parts of my experience as a human being I wanted to develop,” she says. Among those important aspects was her role as a mother to her two children, including Jack, 31, from her marriage to Dennis Quaid, and Daisy, 18, whom she adopted in 2006. For Ryan, it was important to differentiate her career as a job, not a lifestyle, and she found this perspective beneficial in navigating the ups and downs of fame.
After eight years since her last film, her 2015 directorial debut, Ithaca, Meg Ryan is making her much-anticipated return to the big screen. This time, she takes on the roles of star, director, and co-writer in the new romantic comedy What Happens Later. The film explores the story of ex-lovers who find themselves snowed in together overnight at a regional airport. This unique plot is infused with the idea that sometimes, two people are held in a space that may feel conflicted, perhaps for reasons that eventually lead to healing.
A New Love Story
The film stars Meg Ryan alongside David Duchovny and has been a labor of love for her. She describes the entire production as “magical” and the story as “a little roller-coaster ride between these two people.” The central question in the film revolves around whether they will or won’t end up together, with their past filled with heartbreak. However, what they gain from this experience is gratitude, a theme that resonates throughout the movie.
When asked if she believes everything happens for a reason, Meg Ryan reflects on the late Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed many of her classic rom-coms. She ponders, “In retrospect, I feel it’s true, yeah.” She notes that the movies she did with Nora often carried themes of destiny, fate, and kismet. These notions, she believes, offer comfort in a world where the unpredictable often takes center stage.
What Happens Later is set to hit theaters on November 3, and fans of Meg Ryan’s timeless charm and the magic of romantic comedies are eagerly awaiting her return to the big screen.
Meg Ryan’s journey, from stepping away from the spotlight to her triumphant return, adds another chapter to her storied career. The “tingle” that her daughter Daisy describes is undoubtedly what audiences will feel when they watch What Happens Later.