Daisy, the daughter of renowned actress Meg Ryan, describes a delightful sensation she experiences after watching heartwarming movies. “It’s the most adorable feeling,” shares the 61-year-old writer, director, and actress in this week’s PEOPLE cover story. She refers to that warm, heart-opening feeling that lingers after a feel-good movie’s conclusion.
Meg Ryan herself is intimately familiar with this sentiment. Her roles in beloved films such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” solidified her status as the enduring queen of romantic comedies. She also found success in dramatic films like “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “Courage Under Fire.”
However, as her fame soared, so did her determination to step away from the spotlight. She explains, “I took a significant break because I felt there were so many other aspects of my life as a human being that I wanted to explore.” This included her role as a mother to her two children, Jack, 31, from her marriage to Dennis Quaid, and Daisy, 18, whom she adopted in 2006.
“It’s refreshing to view it as a job rather than a lifestyle. For me, that’s a great way to navigate it,” she reflects on her decision to step back from acting.
Now, eight years after her last film, “Ithaca” in 2015, Ryan is making a triumphant return to the big screen. She stars in, directs, and co-writes the new romantic comedy “What Happens Later,” which revolves around ex-lovers unexpectedly snowed in together overnight at a regional airport. (The film received an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA, allowing for publicity during a strike.)
She shares her inspiration for the project, saying, “It came to me during the lockdown. The essence of it is these two people who find themselves stuck together. I adore the idea of being confined to a space, even if it feels contentious, possibly for reasons that lead to healing.”
Ryan, who shares the screen with David Duchovny, describes the entire production as “magical.” The story is a roller-coaster ride, exploring whether these two individuals will reconcile after breaking each other’s hearts long ago. She believes they’ve gained gratitude from those past experiences.
When asked whether she now believes that everything happens for a reason, Ryan’s thoughts drift to the late Nora Ephron, who wrote and directed many of her classic rom-coms. “In retrospect, I believe it’s true,” she muses. “The movies I did with Nora had a fundamental theme of destiny and fate, a sense of kismet. There’s something incredibly comforting about that.”
Fans can look forward to “What Happens Later,” which will be gracing theaters on November 3.