‘Ithaca’ Director Meg Ryan Says ‘I Had The Big Ride’

Meg Ryan was once considered one of Hollywood’s elite, drawing some of the highest box office numbers of the 80s and 90s, but as often happens to well-known actors and actresses, Ryan’s star faded into relative obscurity. While some celebrities might find this unthinkable, Meg reveals that it was the best thing that could have happened, freeing her to work when she pleases and only on those projects for which she feels the greatest passion. No longer compelled to feed the public’s obsession, Ms. Ryan has been freed to pursue her interest in directing, which ultimately led her to reunite with Tom Hanks for Ithaca.

Meg Ryan Opens Up About Fame And Filmmaking

The Tonight Show, tonight!

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Through the past 10 years, Meg Ryan has worked steadily, yet not compulsively, and as she says in a Los Angeles Times interview, that’s just how she has preferred to have her career develop. While it may have seemed to Ryan’s once immeasurable fanbase that she had all but retired from acting, it was just the limelight that Meg had shunned so effectively.

“There’s this idea that being out of the spotlight is somehow dissatisfying,” Meg says. “It’s not. It’s actually pretty enriching and great.”

While she has always held a passion for her art, Ms. Ryan found that her greatest interest had been in raising her family, which consists of Jack Quaid, who is now an adult and, like his parents, an actor. In 2006, daughter Daisy True Ryan, whom Meg had adopted from China, was added to the family. For that to work, Meg felt it was best to relocate to New York, away from the bustling streets of Hollywood and the teams of paparazzi.

Ryan says she had her kingdom, thriving on the attention of millions of devoted fans and that lifestyle quickly lost its flavor. She happily walked away from that, embracing life and family, only to learn that her decision to step away from Hollywood helped her to revitalize her career in ways she might never have imagined.

I had the big ride,” Meg Ryan says pridefully. “I went to the moon. I had all that. I don’t need that anymore. So I have a real freedom, a real free operating principle. It’s about what’s interesting. What is a story I want to share? What environment do I want to be in? Who do I want to be around?”

Ithaca Director Meg Ryan Reunites With “Master” Tom Hanks

I've shared a #BTS look of Ithaca on my Facebook page. I hope you enjoy the photos and the film.

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Along with starring in Ithaca, Meg Ryan makes her directorial debut on the project, and as she revealed to People, she was honored to have her former Sleepless in Seattle co-star and mentor join the project. Ithaca, described by Ms. Ryan as “a simple story about complicated things,” is essentially a World War II coming of age drama adapted from the 1943 novel, The Human Comedy, from author William Saroyan. The story focuses on 14-year-old Homer Macauley, who suddenly finds himself heading up a household and caring for his mother after death claims his father and his older brother heads out to join the war effort.

While the father is briefly seen throughout Ithaca, Meg knew the role required something special, the charisma and fatherly wisdom that only one man could provide. Although Ryan hadn’t worked with Tom Hanks since 1998’s You’ve Got Mail, she felt hopeful that Hanks would be free and willing to take on the all-important role.

“I mean he’s so great,” Ms. Ryan says. “And he did not have to come all the way to Virginia and do this teeny movie. He’s just such a master.”

Ithaca, starring Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Jack Quaid, opened in theaters on September 9.

[Featured Image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]