If your favorite movie genre is “pre-1999 Nora Ephron rom-coms,” pencil in a Saturday night at the theater at some point in 2023. After largely stepping away from Hollywood for nearly a decade, Meg Ryan and her perfect blonde highlights will appear in another just-the-right-side-of-schmaltzy romance, What Happens Later, an adaption of a 2010 play by Steven Dietz.
The classic premise: Former college sweethearts Elena (Ryan) and Reed (David Duchovny) find themselves stranded together in an American airport during a blizzard after decades apart. While Reed is now a divorced corporate suit who’s estranged from his wife, Elena remains the footloose hippie of her university days. Both start the night desperate to get home, and end it questioning whether there’s still a future between them. In addition to starring, Ryan is set to direct—her second turn in the director’s chair following 2015’s Ithaca—with sales for the “evolved and nostalgic take on the romantic comedy” due to begin at Cannes. The pitch-perfect tagline: “They missed their connection.”
Meanwhile, Julia Roberts will be doing Richard Curtis proud in Ticket to Paradise, due out in October. Set in and around Bali, it centers on a former husband (George Clooney) and wife (Roberts) who decamp to Indonesia to stop their daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) from repeating history by impulsively getting married to someone she met on vacation. The trailer premiered at CinemaCon to delighted reviews, and the cast are as thrilled about the project as the rest of us. “This [film] is something special,” Clooney told Deadline of the project at the beginning of 2022. “I haven’t done a romantic comedy really since One Fine Day, and more than that. I’ve done some sort of snarky ones, you know, and in this one Julia and I just get to be mean to each other in the funniest way, and the minute I read it I called Julia, and I said, ‘Did you get this?’ and she said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said ‘Are you going to do it?’ and she goes ‘Are you going to do it? and I said, ‘Yeah, if you do it.’ So, it was just one of those very lucky things.”
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