Meg Ryan is returning to (and revamping) the rom-com genre.
The iconic star of “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail” co-writes, directs, and stars in “What Happens Later,” based on Steven Dietz’s play “Shooting Star.” Dietz and playwright Kirk Lynn penned the script along with Ryan.
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The official synopsis reads: Two ex-lovers, Bill (David Duchovny) and Willa (Ryan) get snowed in at a regional airport overnight. Indefinitely delayed, Willa, a magical thinker, and Bill, a catastrophic one, find themselves just as attracted to and annoyed by one another as they did decades earlier. But as they unpack the riddle of their mutual past and compare their lives to the dreams they once shared, they begin to wonder if their reunion is mere coincidence, or something more enchanted.
Ryan reflected on the inspirations for “What Happens Later” during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “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,” Ryan said. “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.”
“What Happens Later” marks Ryan’s sophomore directorial effort behind 2015’s WWII drama “Ithaca,” which marked a reunion for Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Ryan teased that “What Happens Later” has a classic will they, won’t they dynamic, with the twist that characters Bill and Will already had a full-fledged relationship years prior.
“Sometimes there’s a question of: Will they be together? Will they not be together?” Ryan said. “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.”
Ryan previously explained that directing “takes so much of you” but she always aspired to helm a film. “The satisfaction of directing is completely comprehensive,” Ryan said in 2015. “You feel so responsible, because you’re the emotional conduit, it’s very important the story gets felt.”
“What Happens Later” premieres in theaters from Bleecker Street October 13. Check out the trailer below.
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