Meg Ryan Stepped Out of the Spotlight on Her Own Terms
She's coming back with a rom-com.
If you haven't thought about Meg Ryan for a hot minute, it's because that's what she wants. Ryan, who ruled the silver screen with back-to-back hits, was the queen of rom-coms, but in the past few years, she seemingly faded into the background. But, it turns out, that was all by design. In a new interview with the New York Times, she says that she lost herself along the way — and now she's ready to come back.
"I didn’t feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor," she said of taking time off. "I felt isolated."
The Times notes that Ryan seemed to disappear after her 2003 erotic thriller, In the Cut. However, she set the record straight. The film may have been panned by critics, but she says it just came at a time when she found other things more interesting. Acting, it seemed, got boring. She came back to the entertainment industry back in 2015, but it wasn't in a lead role. Instead, she stepped behind the camera to direct WWII drama Ithaca.
Ryan added that she felt burned out after her string of box-office hits, which included When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Courage Under Fire. She explained that embodying those characters took a toll on her and that she felt like she'd actually gone through her characters' plot lines.
But the biggest bombshell she dropped had to be the fact that she's working on another romantic comedy. She didn't share many details, but says that she'd most likely be behind the scenes again. Knowing all the experience she has on the other side, however, is an exciting thing. Ryan's got a pedigree nobody else does.
"I’m aware now that romantic comedies are confections, but they have construction," she said of her time in rom-coms. "There’s architecture. It’s not something I was aware of back then."
Ryan's also aware that the cinema landscape is much different now than it was back when she ruled the box office. Superheros are dominating, but she's not worried. She says that as long as a project makes money and whether or not they're heavy or dramatic doesn't matter. Just because she was pigeonholed into being America's Sweetheart doesn't mean her work wasn't of value.
"As soon as they make money, they have value," Ryan said of rom-coms and every other genre. "But I don’t think that because things are tragic they're deeper."
She cites her frequent collaborator, the late Nora Ephron, saying that although many of her movies seemed fluffy, they were actually making commentary in a very intelligent way, they were just lighthearted about it. It's a tough thing to walk in the shadow of her friend, but it seems Ryan's primed for it. In addition to her film, she's headed to NBC for a Lorne Michaels project. It looks like we're all in for a deluge of Meg Ryan — not that anyone will mind.