Meg Ryan Returns to Rom-Coms in “What Happens Later”

WhatHappensLater

Meg Ryan, renowned for her roles in classic romantic comedies like “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail,” is making a comeback to the genre in her new film, “What Happens Later.” Ryan not only stars in the film but also co-wrote and directed it. She plays Willa, who becomes stranded with her ex-lover Bill (played by David Duchovny) at a regional airport after years apart.

The film takes inspiration from classic screwball comedies and the works of the late Nora Ephron. It revolves around themes of lost love, second chances, and optimism. Ryan describes it as a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre, focusing on older characters while still being romantic and sexy.

As Willa and Bill spend an unexpected night at the airport, they rediscover their connection and past history. They begin to question if their reunion is merely a coincidence or if some greater force is at play.

Based on Steven Dietz’s play “Shooting Star,” “What Happens Later” features a script by Dietz, Ryan, and Kirk Lynn. This film marks Ryan’s second venture as a director and her first foray into romantic comedy since “Ithaca” in 2015.

Ryan draws inspiration from classic films of the 1940s, citing movies like “Bringing Up Baby” for their banter and rhythm. She also acknowledges Nora Ephron’s belief that romantic comedies are a subtle way to comment on the times, which is a thread woven into this movie.

Meg Ryan met David Duchovny over Zoom for their roles, and despite their differences, she believes their on-screen chemistry is vital. She notes that successful rom-coms often feature characters who are opposites yet share a special connection, and Duchovny brings depth and humor to his role.

“What Happens Later” is set to hit theaters on October 13th, offering a fresh take on the romantic comedy genre.

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