Meg Ryan Reveals Why She Took a ‘Giant Break’ from Hollywood — and Why She’s Back With a New Rom-Com (Exclusive)

Meg Ryan Reveals Why She Took a ‘Giant Break’ from Hollywood — and Why She’s Back With a New Rom-Com (Exclusive)

Eight years after her last film, the beloved star stars in, directed and co-wrote the new romantic comedy “What Happens Later.”

<p><a href="">John Russo</a></p>
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That’s what I’m ryanDaisy’s daughter says she feels happy after watching a movie. “It’s the sweet thing,” the 61-year-old writer, director and actress tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “That feeling at the end makes you feel like your heart is open.”

Ryan herself is no stranger to this feeling. Having starred in beloved films such as When Harry Met Sally a duck Sleepless in SeattleIt cemented her status as the perennial queen of romantic comedies. She also found success in dramatic films such as When a man loves a woman a duck Courage under fire.

But as her fame increased, so did her determination to stay out of the limelight. “I took a big break because I felt like there were so many other parts of my experience as a human being that I wanted to develop,” she says, including her role as a mother to her two children, Jack, 31, with her ex-husband. Dennis Quaidand 18-year-old Daisy, who she adopted in 2006.

“It’s nice to think of it as a job rather than a lifestyle. And that’s a great way to approach it for me,” she says.

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Related: Meg Ryan says her children describe ‘When Harry Met Sally’ orgasm scene as ‘a very unique embarrassment’

Now – eight years after her last film, her directorial debut in 2015, Ithaca – Ryan is finally back on the big screen. She stars in, directed and co-wrote the new rom-com What happens later?, about former lovers snowing together all night at a regional airport. (The film received a temporary agreement from SAG-AFTRA allowing advertising during the strike.)

For more of Ryan’s exclusive interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

“She came to me during lockdown,” she says. “The heart of it is these two people stuck together. I love the idea that we’re held somewhere, even if it seems conflicting, perhaps for reasons that heal them.”

<p>Stefania Rossini</p>
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Stefania Rossini

What happens later?

Ryan, who plays alongside him david duchovny, The entire production is called “magical”. It’s a little journey between these two people, and it somehow begs the question: Will they end up together or not? These are the people who broke each other’s hearts when… And I think what they’ve gained is that they’re grateful for it.

Do you now believe that everything happens for a reason? Ryan’s thoughts turn to late Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed many of her classic romantic comedies. “Looking back, I feel like that’s true, yes,” she says. “The films I made with Nora had something powerful about division, like fate and destiny. And there’s something really comforting about that.

What happens later? It hits theaters in November. 3.

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