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When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle icon Meg Ryan is set to dust off her ’90s rom-com roots and will direct and star in What Happens Later alongside David Duchovny.
The film — based on the play Shooting Star by Steven Dietz, who co-wrote the screenplay alongside fellow playwright and novelist Kirk Lynn and Ryan — is described by the filmmakers as an “evolved and nostalgic take on the romantic comedy.”
Bleecker Street has acquired the U.S. rights and is planning a 2023 theatrical release. HanWay Films has come on board to handle international sales and distribution and will commence sales at Cannes.
What Happens Later follows ex-lovers Willa (Ryan) and Bill (Duchovny), who 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 willful, 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?
The film is produced by Independent Spirit Award winners Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams (Sorry to Bother You, I Used to Go Here) through their Ten Acre Films, Independent Spirit Award nominee Laura D. Smith (I’ll See You In My Dreams, It Follows), and Kristin Mann (The Quarry, To The Stars). Kerri Elder and Blake Elder of Rockhill Studios are executive producers together with Bleecker Street’s Andrew Karpen and Kent Sanderson.
“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,” said the producers. “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.”
The deal was negotiated by Sanderson of Bleecker Street, with Avy Eschenasy on behalf of Bleecker Street. Production on the film will begin later this year in Bentonville, Arkansas. Ryan is represented by The Gersh Agency, Anonymous Content, and Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, P.C. Duchovny is represented by Mosaic and Nelson Davis LLP. Production is represented by Ramo Law P.C.
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