The only person with the answer to the question, “Where has Meg Ryan been?” is Meg Ryan herself.
She popped up in the front row next to Cardi B at New York Fashion Week last February, and announced her engagement to John Mellencamp in the fall, but it is no secret that Ryan has remained absent from Hollywood (and the big screen) for years.
The actress revealed in an interview with The New York Times that she is indeed working on a comeback, and this time, things will be on her own terms. Ryan has remained out of the spotlight for the better part of a decade, and is no longer the subject of celebrity intrigue she once was (“I walk into other people’s paparazzi photos,” she told the Times) but the actress known for starring in romantic comedies (many of which were written by the inimitable Nora Ephron) and for her the moniker as one of “America’s Sweetheart”s is now writing a rom-com of her own.
While the details of this upcoming feature written by Ryan remain hush-hush (“You feel like you’re jinxing it if you’re talking about it,” she said in her interview with the Times), she did reveal that the film will be made at Working Title Films, and is patiently waiting for the green light. She also revealed that she has plans to step behind the camera on the project as well. “Hopefully it’s for me to direct,” Ryan said. “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,” she continued, before admitting that in her opinion, the last good romantic comedy she saw was Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s The Big Sick, which received critical acclaim during the 2018 awards season.
The queen of ’80s and ’90s romantic comedies would know a good one when she sees one, so it’s nothing short of exciting to hear that she has decided to write her own version of the genre that catapulted her to fame decades ago. As for who might star in the Ryan rom-com, she didn’t give any hints, but she did sing the praises of some of Hollywood’s most well-liked and consistently busy stars. “Real charm is probably innate. It’s just there or not,” the actress posited. “I can see it in people like Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling,” she continued.
Romantic comedies have had a bit of a resurgence in recent years thanks to movies like Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and the subversive Isn’t It Romantic. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that one or all three of those actors could pull off starring in the romantic comedy to end them all (and they have each had their fair shares of success at playing the romantic leads a few times over).
Ryan is also set to produce a project at NBC, with Lorne Michaels attached. While it was previously assumed that the series would be a sitcom, Ryan stepped in to adjust those claims. “It’s not really a sitcom. I can’t believe NBC might do it, because it’s so odd,” she said. “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,” she continued.
So, while she’s been evading the celebrity lifestyle for a while now, we have at least two Meg Ryan projects to look forward to, one of which she might even appear in herself.