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The Reason Behind Meg Ryan’s Long Hiatus From the Film Industry

Meg Ryan, the queen of rom-coms, is back with a new film after a long hiatus from Hollywood. The actress, who charmed audiences with her roles in classics such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, has been largely absent from the big screen for over a decade. But now, she is ready to make her comeback with What Happens Later, a romantic comedy that she directed, co-wrote, and starred in.

What Happens Later tells the story of two ex-lovers who get stranded at an airport due to a snowstorm and have to confront their past and their feelings for each other. Ryan plays the female lead, while her former co-star Billy Crystal, who famously played opposite her in When Harry Met Sally, makes a cameo appearance. The film is a tribute to the late Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed some of Ryan’s most memorable films.

Ryan opened up about why she decided to take a break from acting and what inspired her to return. She said that she felt “burnt out” by the pressure and scrutiny of being a famous actress, and that she wanted to focus on other aspects of her life, such as raising her two children, Jack and Daisy. She also said that she felt “typecast” by the rom-com genre, and that she wanted to explore other creative outlets.

“I love romantic comedies, I really do. But I felt like I had done everything I could do with them. I wanted to try something different, something more challenging. I wanted to direct, to write, to produce. I wanted to have more control over my own work,” Ryan said.

Ryan also revealed that she was inspired by Ephron’s legacy and vision. Ephron, who passed away in 2012, was a close friend and mentor of Ryan. She wrote and directed three films starring Ryan: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. Ryan said that Ephron taught her a lot about storytelling, humor, and feminism.

“Nora was a genius. She was so witty, so smart, so funny. She had such a unique voice and perspective. She was also a trailblazer for women in Hollywood. She showed me that you can be both a romantic and a feminist, that you can be both funny and serious, that you can be both an artist and a businesswoman,” Ryan said.

Ryan said that What Happens Later is her homage to Ephron’s style and spirit. She said that she wanted to make a film that would make people laugh and cry, that would celebrate love and life, that would honor Ephron’s legacy.

“I hope that people will enjoy What Happens Later as much as I enjoyed making it. It’s a film that comes from my heart. It’s a film that I think Nora would have loved,” Ryan said.

What Happens Later is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2024. It will be released in theaters nationwide in February 2024, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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