The New York Times magazine has an incredible and detailed piece about Meg Ryan, and where she is at today.
From the late ’80s through the ’90s, Meg Ryan shone about as brightly as any star in Hollywood. You know about her beloved string of romantic comedies — often written by Nora Ephron, often co-starring Tom Hanks. Less well remembered are her dramatic turns in the same era’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “City of Angels” and “Courage Under Fire,” all of which were commercial successes. But the harsh reaction to her 2003 erotic thriller, “In the Cut,” a critical and box-office flop that was widely seen as a failed attempt to complicate her winsome image, as well as her growing frustration with fame, compelled her to step into a less public, far happier life. “I wasn’t as curious about acting as I was about other things that life can give you,” says Ryan, 57. She quietly made her directorial debut in 2015 with the World War II-era drama “Ithaca,” and last November, she became engaged to the musician John Mellencamp. “I wanted,” she says, “to live more.”
Actors often talk about how their roles let them explore feelings that they might not otherwise explore. In the time since you began acting less, have you had to adjust how you process emotions? I felt in a crazy way that, as an actor, I was burning through life experiences. Somehow I was a helicopter pilot or a journalist or an alcoholic. I was living these express-lane lives. I’m not answering your question.
Did you feel as if you hit a wall by burning through all those experiences? Or the blunter way of asking the question is: Where’d you go? My son, Jack, graduated from high school on a Friday or Saturday. I moved back to New York from Los Angeles on the following Monday. I was burned out. I didn’t feel like I knew enough anymore about myself or the world to reflect it as an actor. I felt isolated.
In Hollywood or in fame? In fame and in work. Ever get in a car — maybe it’s a superexpensive car — and the inside’s lovely, you can’t complain about it, but you can’t hear anything outside, because there’s so much metal? There’s so much between you and everything else. You’re at a disadvantage as a young, famous person because you don’t know who’s telling you the truth. I’m not complaining — there are so many advantages to being famous — but there are fundamental disadvantages for a part of your brain, your self, your soul. My experiences were too limited.
An amazing talent. What more can you say about her? How many people ever get to a point in their lives where they are ready to tell you everything is bullshit and you need to grab a hold of something real?