Meg Ryan is back on the Silver Screen after taking an eight-year hiatus.
The a-lister returned to her career this year to star in and direct What Happens Next, a rom-com that traps two ex-lovers in an airport and forces them to reconnect when a snowstorm grounds their planes. The film also stars David Duchovny. Prior to the upcoming release, Ryan made her directorial debut and also starred in the 2015 movie Ithaca. Between then and now, she stayed away from the limelight entirely.
The decision to walk away from Hollywood may have seemed odd for fans, considering Meg Ryan was once one of the most recognizable faces in film. Beginning in the 1980s, the actress played in iconic movies such as Top Gun, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle. While talking with PEOPLE, Ryan explained that she realized she was missing out on the rest of her life by being busy with her work. So she “took a giant break” to focus on her family, friends, and passions.
“I felt like there’s just so many other parts of my experience as a human being I wanted to develop,” she shared. “It’s nice to think of [acting and directing] as a job and not a lifestyle. And that is a great way of navigating it for me.”
Meg Ryan is a mother of two. She shares son Jack, 31, with her ex-husband, Dennis Quaid. She also adopted a daughter, Daisy, 18, in 2006.
The 2020 Lockdowns Inspired Meg Ryan’s Latest Film
Ryan decided to get back to work during the 2020 lockdowns when the experience inspired the plot of her new movie.
“The essence of it is these two people who are stuck together,” she said. “I just love that idea that we’re held in a space, even if it feels conflicted, maybe for reasons that heal them.”
The actress said the project, also inspired by the late Nora Ephron, who created many of Ryan’s past films, ties in themes of fate, heartbreak, and forgiveness. She admitted that filming What Happens Next was a “magical” experience that could lead to more Ryan films.
“It’s a little roller-coaster ride between these two people,” she gushed. “And it asks the question in a way: Will they or won’t they end up together? These are people who broke one another’s hearts way back when. And I think what they gained is that they have gratitude for that.”
What Happens Later releases nationwide on Nov. 3.
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