Meg Ryan Is About To Make A Triumphant Return To Hollywood

Fans of classic romantic comedies like "When Harry Met Sally..." and "Sleepless in Seattle" have something to look forward to thanks to an Instagram post shared by none other than Meg Ryan herself. The actress, known in the '80s and '90s as "America's Sweetheart" (per Today), has announced a new romantic comedy is on the way — and she'll be both the star and the director of the new film.

Ryan made millions off Hollywood blockbusters like "You've Got Mail," starring opposite heavy hitters like Tom Hanks — who she still shares a close relationship with. She earned a reputation for her charming, down-to-earth characters, as well as her sense of humor. Later in her career, the 60-year-old even ventured into drama and thrillers, a turn that wasn't popular with many filmgoers, according to The New York Times. Recently, Ryan's been out of the headlines and away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.

The new film, called "What Happens Later," will be her first romantic comedy in more than ten years (via New York Post). Based on the comments Ryan's Instagram post has gotten so far, fans are more than ready for it!

Missed connections and second chances

Meg Ryan has starred in plenty of films and has even directed once before, but this will be her first time directing and starring in a romantic comedy (via IMDb). Ryan is reportedly taking a new approach to the genre. According to Variety, "What Happens Later" is being dubbed "an evolved and nostalgic take" on the rom-com genre. Instead of focusing on two young hopefuls falling in love for the first time, the film will focus instead on reigniting an old flame between two former lovers. It's an adaptation of a stage play called "Shooting Star." The original playwright, Steven Dietz, co-wrote the screenplay for Ryan's film.

Ryan stars as Willa, who runs into her ex, Bill, — played by David Duchovny — at an airport, where they've been snowed in and will have to spend the night together (via The Hollywood Reporter). They're both itching to get back to their regular lives, but instead, the two spend the evening recounting their past and whether they have a future together moving forward. The tagline for the movie, shared by Variety, says it all: "What if late one snowy night you came face to face with someone from your long ago? Someone who once held your secrets, because once, long ago, that person held your heart."

Meg Ryan's break from the spotlight

Hollywood isn't always everything it's cracked up to be, at least not for everyone involved in the industry. Meg Ryan has been in a few different television shows and smaller films since her career peaked in the 1990s, but she's largely left the spotlight for other endeavors (per the New York Times). She's been pretty open about the reasons why you didn't hear from her for a while as she opted to take a breather. There was a lot at play for her at the time — from growing stress due to the scrutiny placed on her divorce from Dennis Quaid and the ensuing relationship she had with Russell Crowe to the birth of her son. She's talked openly about burnout from acting, too.

"My son, Jack, graduated from high school on a Friday or Saturday. I moved back to New York from Los Angeles on the following Monday," Ryan told The New York Times. "I was burned out. I didn't feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated."

Ryan took her leave from the big screen "to live more," as she told the outlet, and she's certainly kept to her word on that front. From her engagement to musician John Mellencamp to trying her hand at writing and directing, she's found plenty of ways to keep busy over the years.

She never left romantic comedies behind

Even though it's been years since she's starred in one herself, Meg Ryan still loves romantic comedies. She told The New York Times she's been showing all kinds of rom-coms to her daughter, including classics and more contemporary options. The genre still has its appeal for Ryan, which might explain why she's coming back to direct and star in one after all this time.

"As soon as they make money, they have value. But I don't think that because things are tragic they're deeper," Ryan told the outlet. "I'm aware now that romantic comedies are confections, but they have construction. There's architecture. It's not something I was aware of back then [in the 1990s]."

Ryan's upcoming film, "What Happens Later," is set to begin filming in Arkansas later this year, according to the New York Post. It's scheduled for a 2023 release through the production company Bleecker Street (via The Hollywood Reporter). Sales will start at Cannes Film Festival.