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Meg Ryan on what romance means to her and why her new film isn't really a rom-com

he queen of rom-coms is playing with the genre in her new film, "What Happens Later."

Who is she? Meg Ryan is an actress, writer, and director best known for her starring roles in such Nora Ephron romantic comedies as "When Harry Met Sally...", "Sleepless in Seattle", and "You've Got Mail."

What's she up to? Ryan is back on the big screen after an eight-year hiatus, and this time she's directing the characters as well as playing one of them.

What happens later tells the story of two former lovers (Meg Ryan and David Duchovny) who are forced to reunite in an airport, while dealing with delays due to a winter storm.

What does she say? Ryan spoke with All Things Considered host Juana Summers about what inspired this modern love story, as well as the balancing act of being on both sides of the camera.

On her decision to return to a romantic film:

"I think it's really a love story with elements of a romantic comedy. You know, there's banter, there's some of that stuff, but then it takes a turn, I think you don't expect it.

There were a lot of challenges that appealed to me. How do you get these two characters into a time machine? And you have such a small budget, so the whole challenge was in that distillation. And I was really up for that challenge, as was David."

Meg Ryan and David Duchovny in What Happens Later film poster

On depicting aspects of aging and romance that are often overlooked on screen:

"[It's] really perspective-driven, you know. These two people are looking back at the life they didn't get to live together. And they're asking compelling questions, big questions about, 'Why didn't you love me enough? What did I do wrong?'

And their lives are the result of a lot of misunderstandings—they're reacting to each other over those 20 years, and they don't have clear facts. She assumed he was to blame, and blames him, and then finds out the opposite.

So it's from a mature perspective. And so it's not necessarily about aging. It's about the perspective you gain as a mature person."