What Happens Later Interview: Meg Ryan & David Duchovny Talk Rom-Com

What Happens Later
Photo Credit: David Allocca | Starpix
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ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with What Happens Later director/star Meg Ryan and star David Duchovny about the upcoming rom-com. The duo discussed the film‘s use of the airport speaker as a character and the comedic value of irritation. The film is set to release in theaters on Friday, November 3.

“Two ex-lovers, Bill (David Duchovny) and Willa (Meg Ryan) get snowed in at a regional airport overnight,” reads the movie‘s synopsis. “Indefinitely delayed, Willa, a magical thinker, and Bill, a catastrophic one, find themselves just as attracted to and annoyed by one another as they did decades earlier. But as they unpack the riddle of their mutual past and compare their lives to the dreams they once shared, they begin to wonder if their reunion is mere coincidence, or something more enchanted.”

Tyler Treese: I love how the announcement speaker is a character in the movie. Can you speak to using that as a plot device?

Meg Ryan: It was so fun and continues to be fun for us.

David Duchovny: We didn’t know. We didn’t know exactly what was going to be said.

Meg Ryan: That evolved, finally, because … the last element you put in the movie is the sound. But what ended up happening is that we cast Hal Liggett, and he just has this amazing ability to hold … like, he’s patient with these people, he’s impatient with these people. He has an ability just sort of be a factual voice and then a really emotional voice.

David Duchovny: And this was something that Meg was talking to me about after we wrapped. I’d be in touch with Meg, and she was telling me how editing was going, and one of the main focuses, at least the ones that we talked about, was, “It’s a magical realist space, and you want it to be this character of the voice of the airport that’s like a god or fate pushing these people in a certain way, but you also don’t want it to be too clever or too much.” It was this very particular dance that she was trying to find this balance of the fun of, “Hey, what if an airport voice was pushing you in a certain way,” versus, “Oh, that’s a little too easy. That’s a little too much.”

Meg Ryan: And is it an inside voice, or is it an outside voice? Also, Hal played the weather. Our sound designer [Yann Delpuech] was able to sort of manipulate his voice so that it was literally … there’s whispers on the wind. The wind.

David Duchovny: Oh, that’s his actual voice?

Meg Ryan: Yeah, that’s his voice too.

David Duchovny: Well, that’s deeper than anybody’s ever going to get.

Meg Ryan: No, it was a great performance. [Laughs]. Yeah. There’s messaging happening that you might not be paying attention to in some parts of your life, but it’s always kind of there, you know? What if you really tuned in in a different way?

The two characters’ dynamic is so fun throughout the film. Willa is a dreamer, while Bill’s definitely this realist who sees the negative, and you can really see how they complement each other, but also why they fell apart the first time. What about that dynamic really stood out for you throughout filming?

David Duchovny: Well, it’s exactly what you said. It’s that that’s who those people are. But what I was conscious of trying to portray and to feel and what made it easy to feel and portray as a performer across from me was how much her personality irritates me, but enlivens me, you know? Maybe it irritates me because it makes me feel, because it makes me come out of my shell in a way. To kind of play with that push-pull of irritation and amusement, which I think is relatable.

Meg Ryan: So relatable.

David Duchovny: I think a lot of people have that relationship with people that they love. [Laughs]. They’re completely irritating, and yet I’m enchanted by them at the same time.

Meg Ryan: Yeah. And the airport conspires to do the same. It’s hellbent on irritating W. Davis like with these like this bad, bad music. Like all the ways. I have to say, in some actor’s hands, irritation is just irritation. But in David’s, it’s just hilarious. He has these gestures and he’s able to commit to.

David Duchovny: You think I’m funny when I’m irritated, huh?

Meg Ryan: Yes! To the absurd, absurd.

David Duchovny: I’m glad I amuse you. I’m glad my irritation amuses you.

Meg Ryan: It’s so funny and fun. It’s good when he’s bugged. It’s great.

David Duchovny: Yeah.

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