Decades after rising to fame in rom-coms such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan is writing her own romantic comedy.
Ryan, 57, revealed the project in a new interview with The New York Times Magazine: “It’s at Working Title Films,” she said. “I’ll just leave it at that. Getting the green light. … My God. You feel like you’re jinxing it if you’re talking about it.”
The actress, who also wants to direct the project, said that she now understands the inner workings of rom-coms. “I’m aware now that romantic comedies are confections, but they have construction,” she said. “There’s architecture. It’s not something I was aware of back then.”
And for that matter, Ryan believes romantic comedies have a place in cineplexes alongside heavy-hitting dramas and tentpole blockbusters. “As soon as they make money, they have value,” she explained. “But I don’t think that because things are tragic they’re deeper. Think about Nora Ephron [writer of When Harry Met Sally]. Her observation about romantic comedies is that they were commenting on their time in an intelligent way, but with the intention to delight.”
Simultaneously, the Kate & Leopold actress is developing a TV show with Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. “It’s not really a sitcom,” she said. “I can’t believe NBC might do it, because it’s so odd. Right now I’d be producing. Maybe I’ll act in it. I don’t know. It’s a limited series, three seasons. A murder mystery. A comedy. A murder-mystery comedy.”
Ryan, who announced her engagement to singer John Mellencamp in November 2018, also told the magazine about her self-imposed exile from Hollywood. (She has only taken three film roles in the last 10 years, including the 2016 film Ithaca, her directorial debut.)
“I was burned out,” she explained. “I didn’t feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated. … There are so many advantages to being famous — but there are fundamental disadvantages for a part of your brain, your self, your soul. My experiences were too limited. … I wasn’t as curious about acting as I was about other things that life can give you.”
The three-time Golden Globe nominee also speculated that her breakup with Hollywood was mutual. “I felt done when they felt done, probably,” she said.
Now, however, Ryan feels comfortable with her level of fame: “I walk into other people’s paparazzi photos, but I can also get a restaurant reservation.”