Seven years after making her directorial debut with war drama Ithaca, Meg Ryan is finally gearing up for her follow-up as a filmmaker. The actor-director is set to helm in What Happens Later, a movie described as “an evolved and nostalgic take” on the romantic comedy genre. Ryan will also co-star alongside David Duchovny (The X-Files), and the story centers around a couple that meets by chance for the first time decades after splitting up. Stranded in an airport for a night, they go over what could have been of their relationship if they had stuck together.
The rom com also marks Ryan’s return to acting in a feature film: she has been absent from our screens for quite some time. Widely considered one of romantic comedy’s undisputable queens, Ryan is a perfect fit for the project. Duchovny, on the other hand, is quite active and recently starred in The X-Files revival series, The Craft: Legacy and in the Netflix comedy The Bubble.
The story of What Happens Later is based on the stage play Shooting Star, written by acclaimed playwright Steven Dietz. He adapted his own story for the screen, and co-wrote the script with Ryan and fellow playwright Kirk Lynn. The release window has been tentatively set for 2023, although specific dates have not been selected at this point.
In an official statement, film producers Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams (Sorry to Bother You), Laura D. Smith (It Follows), and Kristin Mann (The Quarry) commented on the timing of What Happens Later and celebrated that production companies Bleecker Street and HanWay are on board to tell this story:
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have the incredible teams at Bleecker Street and HanWay alongside us as we bring this special story to the screen. We believe it’s a look at life and love that audiences the world over will relate to and hunger for in these uncertain times when connection and reconciliation feel more important than ever.”
In addition, HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart underscored that the production of the romcom couldn’t be in better hands:
“It is exciting to have Meg Ryan bring the weight of her experience in the genre to the director’s chair and to matchmake her with such a wonderful sparring partner in David Duchovny. This is exactly what audiences everywhere are looking for and HanWay is thrilled to be partnering once again with our friends at Bleecker Street.”
Further details from What Happens Later are yet to be revealed, including additional cast and trailer.
You can check out the official synopsis below:
What if late one snowy night you came face to face with someone from your long ago? Someone who once held your secrets, because once, long ago, that person held your heart. Ex-lovers Willa (Ryan) and Bill (Duchovny) are reunited for the first time since their split decades prior when they both find themselves snowed in, in-transit, at an airport overnight. Willa is still the wilful, independent spirit she once was, free of any ties. Bill, recently separated, is reassessing his life and his relationships with his estranged wife and daughter. All each wants is to get home, but over the course of the night they find themselves at first reluctantly drawn together yet compelled to revisit their past, along with what could have been and what might well be again. But when the versions of their shared history don’t quite add up, where do they go from there?