Meg Ryan and David Duchovny Reflect on Romantic Comedies, Celebrity, and Remembering Nora Ephron

by Gabriel Martinez
Meg Ryan David Duchovny Interview

The phrase “For Nora” gracefully concludes Meg Ryan’s latest film endeavor, “What Happens Later.”

Honoring the memory of the late Nora Ephron with this dedication in Ryan’s new movie was an obvious decision, though it necessitated formal consent from the Directors Guild. Ephron, alongside Ryan, crafted some of the most cherished modern romantic comedies that have stood the test of time, including Ephron’s “When Harry Met Sally” as well as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

The film marks a delightful and much-anticipated comeback for Ryan, taking her back to the big screen after an eight-year interlude. The movie is set to charm audiences in theaters starting this Friday.

“This film aims to gently open your heart,” Ryan remarked. “It’s a film with a heart, devoid of cynicism. It has a vulnerability that I think resonates especially during the holiday season when people are more receptive to such narratives.”

Before teaming up for “What Happens Later,” Ryan and Duchovny were virtually strangers, a fact belied by their seamless on-screen presence and their natural rapport off-camera. They recently engaged in a conversation with The Big Big News about the film, the hiatus Ryan took, the illusory nature of fame, and their children’s ventures into the acting industry.

The conversation has been condensed and refined for clarity.

AP: The film features mainly your characters, accompanied by a ubiquitous PA voice.

DUCHOVNY: Initially ambivalent about the airport’s PA voice, my appreciation grew as the voice began to intertwine with their story. It felt like someone truly cared about the characters.

RYAN: That aspect is a favorite of mine. It carries a similarity to Nora’s films, where she instilled a sense of fate and destiny. In this benevolent setting, the characters are fated to connect.

AP: There’s speculation the PA voice belongs to a celebrity, with guesses like Tom Hanks and Billy Crystal due to nostalgic reasons. Though credited as Hal Liggett with a humorously ambiguous biography, his true identity remains a mystery.

RYAN: I crafted those fictional details.

DUCHOVNY: Here’s the revelation—it’s Morgan Freeman.

RYAN: Actually, it’s Scarlett Johansson. When Hal agreed to participate, I paced my driveway in excitement.

DUCHOVNY: How extensive is your driveway?

RYAN: Quite.

AP: Given the chemistry and banter you share, it’s surprising you hadn’t met before this project.

DUCHOVNY: I’m grateful to Meg for the chance to be part of this film. It represents a genre I’ve wanted to explore.

RYAN: David was a natural choice. His versatility as an actor is remarkable, capable of evoking a spectrum of emotions.

DUCHOVNY: I recall someone speculating that the characters were in purgatory, due to the white setting.

RYAN: That’s an interesting interpretation.

DUCHOVNY: It suggests they’re in a transitional space where they must learn a lesson to progress.

RYAN: Precisely.

AP: Meg, your return to film after an eight-year absence has garnered attention. Was the hiatus deliberate?

DUCHOVNY: Allow me to speak on Meg’s behalf.

RYAN: Go ahead.

DUCHOVNY: Meg, an artist, took time to replenish her creativity. Besides her cinematic interests, she’s engaged in other pursuits like interior design.

RYAN: It wasn’t a conscious decision. Remember, the pandemic accounted for three of those years. I spent time writing and living without specific intentions.

DUCHOVNY: Fame complicates the observatory nature required for art. One must find a way to observe humanity without the distortions fame brings.

RYAN: That’s accurate. My career trajectory wasn’t planned, but in retrospect, it feels coherent.

AP: Matthew Perry has spoken about the hollowness of fame.

RYAN: His reflections on the fleeting value of fame are insightful and valuable.

DUCHOVNY: It reminds me of a dog track analogy. Once the chasing dogs catch the mechanical rabbit, they lose the drive to chase. That’s similar to the realization that comes with fame.

RYAN: It’s a poignant analogy, especially when the pursuit of fame is so prevalent.

DUCHOVNY: And I’m also against dog racing.

AP: With both of your children pursuing acting, how do you feel about the discussions surrounding ‘nepo babies’ and the challenge of living up to successful parents?

DUCHOVNY: It’s an oversimplification that I hope fades away.

RYAN: It overlooks their talent, hard work, and dedication.

DUCHOVNY: The term ‘nepotism’ has intriguing origins, doesn’t it?

RYAN: I’m not sure.

DUCHOVNY: I’ll verify that later.

RYAN: That’s due diligence.

DUCHOVNY: But the dog track story—that’s a certainty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Meg Ryan David Duchovny Interview

Why was Meg Ryan’s new film “What Happens Later” dedicated to Nora Ephron?

The film was dedicated to Nora Ephron as a tribute to the impactful work she and Meg Ryan had previously done together, creating some of the most cherished modern romantic comedies. The dedication symbolizes respect and remembrance, and it necessitated additional approval from the Directors Guild.

What is the essence of “What Happens Later” according to Meg Ryan?

Meg Ryan describes “What Happens Later” as a film that is designed to emotionally engage the audience in a non-cynical way. She suggests that the movie aims to “unzip” the viewer’s heart, and is especially fitting for the holiday season when audiences might be more receptive to its themes.

How did David Duchovny and Meg Ryan build their on-screen chemistry?

Despite not knowing each other well before the production of “What Happens Later,” Meg Ryan and David Duchovny developed a natural rapport and chemistry, which is evident both on-screen and in their off-camera interactions.

Who provided the omnipresent voice on the PA in “What Happens Later”?

The voice on the PA, presumed to be a celebrity, remains a playful riddle posed by the film. Meg Ryan and David Duchovny joke about various guesses, mentioning Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansson, with Duchovny humorously noting the ambiguity as part of the film’s charm.

What has Meg Ryan been doing during her eight-year hiatus from acting?

Meg Ryan did not take an intentional break from acting; her hiatus included various activities, such as writing and interior design. She also mentioned that part of this period included the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What observations about fame were discussed by Meg Ryan and David Duchovny?

Meg Ryan and David Duchovny reflect on the illusory nature of fame. They discuss how fame can impede an artist’s ability to observe and interact authentically with the world, which is essential for creating art. Duchovny relates this to an anecdote about greyhounds losing interest in racing after catching the mechanical rabbit they chase.

How do Meg Ryan and David Duchovny view the term “nepo babies” in relation to their children?

Both actors acknowledge the privileges their children enjoy but also emphasize their individual talents, work ethic, and the unique challenges they face following in the footsteps of successful parents. They express hope that the term “nepo babies” and the dismissive shorthand it represents will soon become obsolete.

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Sarah O'Conner November 3, 2023 - 1:42 pm

so they say nepotism isn’t all bad but really, it’s not fair on the kids who work hard without connections just sayin

LizzyQ November 3, 2023 - 1:47 pm

did Duchovny just compare fame to chasing a mechanical rabbit? kinda deep but also, what?

John Smit November 3, 2023 - 4:27 pm

Wow Meg Ryan and David Duchovny together in a film, thats like a 90s dream come true cant wait to see it!

Mike_Rulz88 November 3, 2023 - 5:39 pm

Meg Ryan hasn’t been in a movie for 8 years? feels like yesterday i saw her last, time flies…

CinemaBuff101 November 3, 2023 - 5:54 pm

I heard the dedication ‘For Nora’ at the end, a sweet nod to Ephron’s legacy, really touches the heart strings


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