Few actresses are the target of as many comeback rumors as Meg Ryan. After 2003’s In the Cut, the Jane Campion thriller she had hoped would be her reinvention, Ryan disappeared into quickly forgotten indies and the occasional TV guest spot. She finally reappeared last year, announcing she’d headline an NBC comedy in a role that winks at the last ten years of her resume — as a middle-aged woman in a creative field who was once at the top of her game, but now must rebuild her career after a long absence.
Ryan’s proving she’s doing her comeback her own way. She will make her directorial debut with Ithaca, a film adaptation of William Saroyan’s coming-of-age novel The Human Comedy, and reunite with her former rom-com dream-team partner Tom Hanks, who will produce. The film will see some other familiar faces in stars Sam Shepard and Melanie Griffith, as well as Ryan’s son Jack Quaid.
The Human Comedy follows 14-year-old Homer Macauley, who dreams of becoming the best bicycle telegraph messenger the world has ever seen. As the novel takes place in 1942, Homer’s older brother is off at war, leaving the young teen to become the “man of the house.” The boy’s small contribution to the war effort is delivering letters around town from the battlegrounds to his neighbors in their picturesque hometown, though one letter will force Homer to grow up very fast.