August 20, 2008

Whatever Happened To: Meg Ryan?

Forget Proof of Life. We need proof of a career. How did Meg Ryan go from commanding $15,000,000 a picture just seven years ago to playing bit parts in low-budget indie failures, like last year's In the Land of Women, or this year's straight-to-video My Mom's New Boyfriend?

Age discrimination? Poor choice of roles? The death of the respectable romantic comedy? Call it what you want to, but it's clear that one of the biggest box-office stars of the 90's (over $1 billion grossed worldwide between '93 and '98) has dropped off big time. Here are the numbers.

It's not as if Ryan has moved on to another career, either. Sure, she hasn't kept up the same pace as she used to, but aside from a three year hiatus after the legendary 2004 bomb Against the Ropes, acting has still been her main gig. You've probably even recognized her in the trailer for the upcoming The Women, where she'll join Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Bette Midler, and Candice Bergen in a remake of the 1939 classic that no doubt provided inspiration for "Sex and the City" so many years later.
Was Ryan included in this ensemble because of lingering doubt that she can still carry a movie as the lead, or is this what's left of her career going forward?

Let's go back to my three initial inquiries.

Age discrimination - If you ask me, she still has star looks at 46 years old (above in The Women), so aside from there being few parts written for 40-somethings, this doesn't seem like it would be the major issue. It's just that she'd have to fight Diane Lane over those few roles.

Poor choice of roles - Certainly something to be said here. Following up You've Got Mail in 1998 with the sci-fi romantic comedy Kate and Leopold in 2001, she completely changed gears with Proof of Life (which was decent, mostly because of Russell Crowe), In The Cut (in which she appeared nude and simulated oral sex with Mark Ruffalo), and the aforementioned Against the Ropes (in which she played a female boxing promoter). Read through those again. Meg Ryan?

I'm not advocating that actors do the same thing over and over again, but there has to be some understanding of risk, and it's hard to argue that Ryan's early 2000's character choices did not do serious damage to her career. Blame can be placed at other weaknesses in those films, or poor execution overall, but it's a moot point by now. If you're going to branch out, you have to do it wisely.

The death of the respectable romantic comedy - If we consider Notting Hill the last peak in romantic comedies (earlier eras belonging to Woody Allen), there haven't been too many in the last decade to speak of. Every now and then one will come along, like 2 Days in Paris or Definitely, Maybe (which I include based on hearsay alone), but the genre hasn't been very healthy since J-Lo and Jessica Alba received the baton from Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, or even Cameron Diaz.

But if Ryan deliberately moved away from romantic comedies in the early 2000's, the lull of romantic comedies shouldn't have made a huge difference.
So it comes down to possibly choosing the wrong roles at the wrong time...or, a wild card. While promoting In the Cut in 2003, Ryan had an infamous interview with British talk show host Michael Parkinson. The only summary I could find was from IMDb:

[The October 2003 episode of Parkinson's chat show has become part of British television history due to the actress's bizarre behavior in which she gave only one word answers to questions and stared icily at the host. Ryan appeared on the program to promote her erotic thriller, In the Cut (2003), but refused to answer Parkinson's questions about the drastic change from her typical romantic comedy roles. At one point Parkinson said in exasperation, "What would you do now if you were me?" to which Ryan replied, "Why not wrap it up?" About the televised debacle, Parkinson later said that Ryan was his "most difficult TV moment." He felt her rude behavior toward his fellow guests, Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, whom she deliberately turned her back on, was unforgivable. Parkinson said, "I should have closed it. But listen, it happens. She was an unhappy woman. I felt sorry for her. What I couldn't forgive her for was that she was rude to the other guests." In a 2006 interview with "Marie Claire" magazine, Ryan blamed Parkinson's paternal manner for the failure of the interview. Ryan said, "I don't even know the man. That guy was like some disapproving father! It's crazy. I don't know what he is to you guys, but he's a nut. I felt like he was berating me for being naked in the movie. He said something like: 'You should go back to doing what you were doing'. And I thought, are you like a disapproving dad right now? I'm not even related to you. Back off, buddy. I was so offended by him." Ryan also underscored the difference between American and British TV interviewing styles. "I realized it's not like an American talk show where it's seven minutes and then there's a commercial break. I had to do 20 minutes straight with this guy, and I could either walk off - which wouldn't be good - or try to disagree with him very respectfully."]

Maybe not a fair reason for her career to tank, but still an example of how bad P.R. can have serious repercussions. It's really too bad for Meg Ryan, who was great in the 80's (Top Gun, Innerspace, When Harry Met Sally) and on fire in the 90's (Sleepless in Seattle, Courage Under Fire, City of Angels).

Next up after The Women is next year's Serious Moonlight, starring Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell, and Justin Long. The synopsis?

"When a high-powered female attorney discovers that her husband is about to leave her for another woman, she prevents him from doing so by binding him to the toilet with duct tape. Complications ensue when burglars break in to the couple’s home."

*shakes head in pity*


  1. Argghhh ... I am shot through the heart at Meg's downhill slide, which I have observed with great regret. I have loved her from afar for lo these many years.

    I read an interview with her promoting one of those terrible last few pics and the interviewer said something like she radiated a mature sexuality that was quite unlike her wholesome image. He was apparently as shocked as I was, not at a sensuous, seriously seductive woman, but that Meg Ryan was like that.

    Type-casting is a terrible thing.

  2. Daniel - I have to say that this is one post of yours that cut me to the quick. There is rampant age and gender discrimination in Holywood, and if Meg Ryan chose poorly (which I would argue that she did not), it was because she had few choices at all.

    Bad publicity for an appearance on a British TV show? Not in America. English celebrities (not world celebrities like Michael Caine) don't register in Hollywood. I think Ryan was totally right to call him on his paternalism, in fact, I think she was courageous. Any woman who doesn't behave as expected is considered "rude." I think we should poll the guests for their views before we take this guy's word for it.

    Thank goodness she is being sexual. Movies have robbed us of our sexuality or condemned us for it. How about the audiences grow up?

    Finally, it's impossible for me to think that The Women could have been an inspiration for any of the modern chick (and I do mean chick, those aren't women) entertainment. The previews for the remake don't show anything near the intelligence of the original. It looks like a bad sitcom instead of a women's picture of insight.

    Sorry to rant so, but you really hit a nerve. You're still my bud, I hope.

  3. Daniel -

    I've got to chime in here too about "The Women" - the original bears no relation whastoever to "Sex and the City," and I doubt it inspired the series (or the newspaper column on which the series is based) in any way.

    In the original verison of "The Women," quite significantly, all the women are married and completely dependent upon their husbands for their wealth and social standing. The only single character - also the only one with a job - is portayed as unattractive and probably a lesbian. That's a whole different world than "Sex and the City." From the looks of it, it's best to consider the new film not as a remake, but a whole new story, loosely inspired by the original.

    And I've got to agree with both Rick and Marilyn - I see nothing wrong with Ryan stretching into more challenging and unabashedly sexual roles. I suspect the work dried up because - as Rick notes -that was not how audiences wished to see her.

  4. Of course you are, Marilyn. I figured my first female choice for this feature might raise the issue of age and typecasting, but I ended up glossing over it more than I thought I would when I landed on Meg Ryan. I'm glad that you and others (Miranda...?) are on top of these circumstances, and if this is the place to say so, well then even better. It's a lot more interesting when people say what they think.

    To your points - First of all, I don't mean to indict Meg Ryan of anything here. I usually paint a career picture with really broad brushstrokes in this feature, but the main point is to determine how someone who used to be a household name has faded into the shadows. It's not always their fault, but I try to pinpoint something that might have gone wrong.

    Why did she decide to make that switch after Kate and Leopold? I have no idea. I suppose I could find more interviews with her from 03-04, but I didn't. She had every right to stand up to Parkinson, but unfortunately it resulted in disaster. I didn't see it; maybe she said the exact same things to him that you did.

    The point is, hers seems to be a case that has really gone unusually far downhill. Other actors have tried to break free of typecasting with mixed results (from Jim Carrey in The Number 23 to Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!), but I wouldn't say their careers have been in jeopardy. Why has it gone so wrong with Meg Ryan?

    Has it really been a dearth of choices of roles? I won't deny that at all, but I will say that other actresses around her age with similar star power or even less (Roberts, Tomei, Lane, Bening, Keaton, Linney, Catherine Keener, Julianne Moore, Robin Wright Penn, Kidman) have found respectable work over the last 5-10 years.

    As I said, I shake my head in pity, not condemnation.

    Regarding The Women, well having seen neither the original nor "Sex and the City", that was a bit of a stretch - guilty as charged...

    Rick, the sexuality bit is unfair, to be sure, especially since other "lighter" actresses (Roberts in Closer, Diaz in Vanilla Sky, off the top of my head), have taken those dark, sexual roles with much less backlash.

  5. Whoops, missed you there, Pat. As noted, I was out of my league in making that comparison! For what it's worth, your description of The Women sounds more interesting to me than an episode of "Sex and the City."

    I agree with all of the you about the sexual thing. It's her right to do it. But should she have made no calculation as to what might happen?

    The years between 2004-2007 are really a mystery. Either she was literally sent no work during that time, or, (my guess), she was so jaded/bruised/hurt by the backlash of In the Cut and Against the Ropes that she deliberately sat on the sidelines for a bit.

  6. I actually like "Sex and City," but it is not in the same league with "The Women."

    I hope I didn't come on too strong - but I love the original film (and play) of "The Women" and I'm really pissy about this new, so-called "remake."

  7. You're not going to hear me defending many remakes, Pat, whether I've seen the original or not. Based on both yours and Marilyn's impression of this one, it sounds like a somewhat lazy attempt at box-office cash.

    Speaking of coming on too strong, I have to admit that reading over what I originally wrote, I sure sound like I'm blaming Meg Ryan a lot more than I mean to.

    I do think it was courageous to step out and try those new roles, and the response from her usual fans was exaggeratedly negative - but, if so many of those movies since 2000 have just been plain bad (continuing with the current ones), then I still feel like she could be doing better. You'll hear me say the same thing about Cuba Gooding, Jr. Not that there isn't racial discrimination in Hollywood, either, but come on, man...

  8. Weren't a bunch of people freaked out by her plastic surgery a few years back, too?

    Funny you should post this today. Last night, I caught part of What Planet Are You From? and was wondering what happened to Linda Fiorentino.

    Just looked...she's filming something now, but her prior project was in 2002 (!). Time off for kids?

  9. There are a lot of reasons why careers take off, flounder, and disappear, why some celebrities are pilloried while others are indulged. Why should Meg Ryan's career suffer because she behaved "inappropriately" on a talk show and Tom Cruise survive jumping on a couch on the most popular talk show in the world?

    If someone wants to blackball you, they will. Maybe Cuba Gooding, Jr. has been given bad advice. Maybe he pissed the wrong guy off. Maybe there are too many people competing for the same role. Maybe his Q rating isn't as high as Jamie Foxx's.

    You bring up Meryl Streep and Meg Ryan. Well, Meryl Streep was never America's Sweetheart. She's already too unusual looking to have to worry about the need for cosmetic surgery. What's an actress famous for playing a perky girl-woman to do?

  10. I got to see The Deal earlier this year, which starred Meg Ryan opposite William H. Macy.

    While "she still has star looks", the years haven't been all that kind.

  11. You know, it's interesting to me that some actresses (and actors, for that matter) are able to keep reinventing themselves over and over and keep working, while others (like Ryan) can't.

    Just last night, I watched a documentary on Barbara Stanwyck who was able to keep working for over 50 years - her screen persona just kept evolving with the times (from working-class tough cookie to career gal to femme fatale to middle-aged "victim" roles). She made a lot of classics, but there were plenty of stinkers in there, too, so it wasn't all about the quality of the material. Maybe it's that some essential core of who she was and what her characters were about wasn't specifically tied to youthfulness or physical attractiveness.

  12. Good point, Fletch. Family is another issue that obviously sidelines women more than men. Actually I think read Meg Ryan adopted a child during that off period. That's a pretty big variable, I suppose.

    That plastic surgery picture is pretty awful, if it's accurate. I never know how to trust pictures like that.

    Your mention of Fiorentino somehow makes me think of Jeanne Tripplehorn, which somehow makes me think of Sharon Stone. All in Ryan's age range, all with middling careers in the 00's.

    In fairness, Marilyn, I think the backlash against Cruise was pretty significant after the couch jumping. I only know this because I'm a huge fan of Tom Cruise, The Actor, and I had to carefully toe the line between defending him against Tom Cruise, The Man. His box-office draw has been in a relative free fall for the last few years, and if not for some promising work in Tropic Thunder and his hot potato Valkyrie, he might be a few years away from Whatever Happened To? status. It would probably point back to the couch jumping.

    I saw that one her list as well, Joseph. Did it only play at festivals?

  13. Dang it, missed you again, Pat. Wow, that's a really interesting theory.

    For some reason you made me think of Jodie Foster. She seems to still get positive attention for her roles, even if they're in bad movies like The Brave One. Another name now popped into my head - where's Michelle Pfeiffer? How about Kim Basinger?

    Anyway, I'd be really curious to hear other examples of "core" actresses like that, Pat. I also wonder how the studio system's evolution made or broke careers back in the day. Were there more roles at that time? Fewer? More actresses competing for them? Fewer?

  14. Interesting. I just looked up some credits. Pfeiffer disappeared for a few years before 3 movies last year. I thought she was great in Stardust. Foster also took some time off right around 2000 before returning to about one movie a year, all of which have been somewhat successfull, including Panic Room, Flightplan, Inside Man, and The Brave One (she got a Golden Globe nod), and Nim's Island.

    All of these actresses are the same age as Ryan. None of them were as successful in the 90's.

    Ryan is returning to what made her successful in the beginning. She's probably not happy about it.

  15. You know, Daniel, I defended Cruise's counch jumping. He seemed to be genuinely in love, and I really hate how the media piles on celebrities who don't really mean a whole lot to life on this planet and ignore the folks who are destroying it for real. I don't think Cruise's career really suffered, though. He's got too much clout.

    Personally, I think America's obsession with youth at the moment is keeping virtually all actresses from aging through their careers. Meryl Streep is an exception - after all, you need some older actresses in the pool, and she actually can act. But even in the 50s and 60, it was easier. Joanne Woodward keeps working, Ann-Margret, Ellen Burstyn. Solid actresses with character.

    The hot actresses of today don't have a lot of substance, or their roles don't. Women are cardboard cut-outs in Hollywood movies these days. No wonder they're disposable after they turn 40.
    Theyhave to go into producing and directing or go the indie route to keep working.

  16. "I really hate how the media piles on celebrities who don't really mean a whole lot to life on this planet and ignore the folks who are destroying it for real."

    That's probably the comment of the year.

    Again, I'm not trying to argue on this point; I'm just throwing evidence in from what I just found. Wouldn't you say those actresses I listed a few comments ago are doing fairly well? All of them are in their 40's, I think. Except Meg Ryan's not in that group...

    In any case, you'll get no disagreement from me as their ages go up, and I know that agents representing people like Rachel McAdams and Kate Winslet are getting a lot more phone calls than those repping Streep, Keaton, and even Ellen Burstyn, who is probably one of the last older actresses we might see. Certainly there aren't many Jessica Tandy-type movies being made anymore. Batteries Not Included, Cocoon, Driving Miss Daisy, etc.

  17. Daniel -

    I don't really have a developed, coherent theory about this - that comment was just me grasping for some possibilities and keeping the dialogue going. (Or, to put it more bluntly, I kind of pulled that observation out of my ass!)

    I am not extremely well-versed in Stanwyck's career (I know the highlights), but I believe the documentary mentioned that she worked independently of any studio and managed her own career, which is pretty interesting. It also seems to me that while Stanwyck was very much a leading lady, she was a character actress at heart. She wasn't afraid to look ridiculous or be unsympathetic. I think you could also say that about Streep and Foster, as well as Julianne Moore, Annette Benning, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton - and Shirley Maclaine for that matter. They all work on a regular basis and they're all over 40. (I would also say the same of some younger actresses like Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow, and it'll be interesting to see where their careers are in 15 years.) Ryan, on the other hand, has never really struck me that way.

    Then again, it could just be bad career management!

  18. *raises hand like BEATRIX KIDDO in class*

    Here - and accounted for...

    Poor RICK. He sounds genuinely brokenhearted.

    Marilyn, as always, you are my hero...


    I actually came very late to the MEG RYAN party. I must confess that I grew up LOATHING her. Went back and forth as to whether she was attractive AT ALL.

    Sexy? She may be off screen. I don't know her. Have never met her. If I had, I suppose an impression like that may be possible.

    She's a nice looking woman, I think. Cute. That's about all.

    But, in terms of her talent, she has been sidelined rather unfairly.

    Anyone that doesn't think MEG RYAN can act should see three films: WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN (where she portrayed an alcoholic in a dark melancholy romance opposite ANDY GARCIA); JOE VS. THE VOLCANO (where she played three sisters who looked completely different BELIEVABLY - great character work) and ADDICTED TO LOVE (the ultimate anti-romantic comedy romcom - its delicious twisted underpinnings are just exquisite).

    It took me a LONG TIME to appreciate Ms. Ryan's considerable gifts for what they are. I imagine it's because she always played such monumentally perky goody two shoes types. They're the kind of women I can't stand in real life.

    So it would figure...

    I think that MEG really got caught in a bind. Though IN THE CUT was godawful (raw sex my was gross - and I'm a free thinking lass - I DON'T find a lot of porn ojectionable) she really did try to break out of the romcom mold.

    SANDRA BULLOCK was never able to do it successfully either. Why did JULIA ROBERTS? I imagine because she's such an enormous star and a big box office draw (to this day) that people were willing to follow her anywhere. In fairness, JULIA is a much more accomplished performer than either of them.

    It's sad. Anyone who knows ANYTHING about acting is well aware that being convincing in a romcom is one of the most difficult things to do. EVER. Comedy is extremely hard to put across well.

    So MEG is actually a far better actor than she's been given credit for.

    I'm totally with MARILYN on the English talk show thing. Whenever a woman asserts herself, doesn't back down or wants something specific, she's "difficult" or "a bitch". But when men do it, they're just being themselves and they're generally seen in a startlingly positive light.


    But I doubt very much that that even made a dent, Danny. There has to be something else. It wasn't only audiences. It had to be the industry. Maybe because almost all of her romcoms did exceptionally well.

    (Some of the ones that she did with TOM HANKS were 100 million dollar grossers DOMESTICALLY. I think they like romcoms a lot in some countries overseas as well.)

    I don't think anything else that ever did was received as well or did great box office.

    The industry probably liked her in romcoms. They were cash cows with her in them. Now that she's in her 40s the (highly sexist) film industry is LIKELY thinking, "GOD, who the hell wants to see this woman in a romcom NOW?"

    I would. So would lots of other people. I may not be 30 yet but I know that plenty of people live rich interesting HIGHLY SEXUAL LIVES well past 40. Or even 60. There is an audience out there for stories like that. Possibly it's MUCH LARGER than a niche.

    So Ms. Ryan has definitely been shafted. But she had a VERY successful career for a good ten year stretch. EASILY.

    A lot of actors DREAM of things like that and never even get close.

    I wish MEG well. I hope she gets some interesting flavourful roles in the future. However, regardless of beauty, talent or what have you, any performer out there knows that there's a tremendous amount of competition AND THERE ALWAYS WILL BE.

    Any actor is fortunate to have a job. Any time. Anywhere.


  19. @Daniel (re: The Deal)

    "Did it only play at festivals?"

    I saw it at the Nashville Film Festival. I'm not sure what their plans are.

  20. As Pat says, the original version of The Women is such a beautiful creation, why even try to loosely recapture that? And with that cast? And with what I'm sure is an awful screenplay? The trailer before Vicky Cristina Barcelona was rather sickening.

  21. Well it's a great theory/observation nonetheless, Pat (you wanna see something pulled out, well that's my The Women/SATC comparison!) It's worth wondering how Ryan's career is managed - whether she made many of those decisions early on or whether she's been poked and prodded into everything. I'm also curious as to what Winslet and Paltrow will be doing. I like them both very much.

    Thanks for sounding off on this one, Miranda - knew I could count on you! I think Meg Ryan had some decent acting chops, as you strongly outline, and I also agree that romantic comedies are sometimes harder than they seem to pull off. Depends on the chemistry and the writing, of course - it's what separates When Harry Met Sally from The Wedding Planner.

    For what it's worth, I'd probably see her in a decent romcom these days. She doesn't have to play perky girl-woman (haha, Marilyn), but she does have that inner charm that a lot of actresses only wish they had (Sandra Bullock being one of them).

    Thanks, Joseph. Maybe I'll keep an eye out for it on TV or something. That you haven't outright recommended makes me wonder if it's worth searching for otherwise.

    I should really see the original The Women, shouldn't I, Alexander? The screenplay adaptation was bizarrely done by Diane English, who's never directed and hasn't done anything - literally, in any way - since 1998, when she was a writer for "Murphy Brown". Maybe Bergen called in a favor for her old friend here.

  22. Yeah, it's more of a TV movie. Well worth watching, but not something to go out of your way to see.

  23. Meg Ryan's face was painful to look at in In the Land of Women and that was before her charachter underwent chemo.
    Hollywood may discriminate but ultimately they are driven by the dollar. I don't necessarily blame "them" for not hiring her, she made a series of flops, her fault or not.

    There are plenty of actresses I'd rather see in just about any role that she would be up for and I don't even dislike her that much.

    Add that to the disasterous plastic surgery (and if that pic is from The Women she must have fixed it) and I don't really feel bad for her considering she is still getting movies.

  24. Wait a minute, you saw In the Land of Women?!

    "I don't necessarily blame "them" for not hiring her, she made a series of flops, her fault or not. There are plenty of actresses I'd rather see in just about any role that she would be up for and I don't even dislike her that much."

    How did nobody say that yet? Well Miranda somewhat did. I agree.

    I guess I didn't realize this lip thing was so out of control. Stupid collagen.

  25. Makes me want to watch "For Your Consideration" again. :)

  26. Hehe, yeah that was pretty disgusting.

    Christopher Guest has done nothing since then, with apparently nothing on the way. Sad.

  27. SO SAD.

    That is all I have to say, or I'll end up saying too much.

    I still like her. I always will. So sad. Ugh.

  28. Yeah, Nick, anyway you slice it (blaming her or blaming others), it's definitely not the feel good story of the year.

  29. Some of my most favorite movies are those that star meg ryan.(when Harry met Sally, youve got mail, sleepless in seattle, when a man loves a women) i love romantic comedies. they are chic flicks. so what? when I watch sleepless in seattle (which I did last night) I think it would have been so nice had they done a sequel to that. The same with youve got mail, and when Harry met sally.meg ryan makes you like her. Bring romantic comedies back!

  30. Hmm, a sequel to Sleepless in Seattle. Wasn't that You've Got Mail? ;-P I'm kidding - yeah I'd say it's a little surprising that the remake/reboot/sequel trend hasn't picked up on those smash hits. It's probably just a matter of time before When Harry Met Sally is remade - you know, for a "new generation".

    It's true, witty romantic comedies need to come back. What constitutes one these days is either crude (Knocked Up) or ridiculous (27 Dresses, and yes I realize they both star Katherine Heigl). Apparently everybody loved Definitely, Maybe last year and claimed it was above the rest, but I never saw it.

    Anyway, thanks for adding to the discussion.

  31. Sorry, It's the lip thing. Makes her totally unwatchable now.

  32. Though I've mentioned it a couple of times, I'm still a little doubtful that we (Hollywood and movie-goers) are really THAT shallow. It might be a distraction (actually I don't know as I haven't seen her anything in like a decade), but unwatchable seems a little strong. I just think it's been a combination of typecasting, poor choice of roles, and poorly made movies.

  33. What really confuses me is when people talk about the sex that appears on In The Cut.

    Why can't people see the obvious: the sex scenes were the most normal ever, there are ALOT of movies with much worse ones...

    It seems that people only talk about that because it's... MEG RYAN!

    Can somebody please explain to me how the hell is the sex scene "gross" (stated by one user in here)???

    The angles were too distant, it wasn't very long, it was filled with quick shots.

    It's obvious that Meg Ryan doesn't like doing nude scens, which she admitted.

    So why all thse double-standards?

    I think that the movie In The Cut only has caused all thse fuss because of two things: it's MEG RYAN and... the blowjob scene.

    But the blowjob scene had nothing to do with Meg Ryan... so...???

    This is ridiculous!

  34. Since I haven't seen In the Cut I guess I can't really chime in with an educated opinion (my description of the scene in the post was taken from various reviews), but I think you're getting at the double standard Marilyn was alluding to. As in, despite Ryan's popular image, why wasn't she "allowed" to do something edgy?

    I don't know. I'm not judging her for taking that role, but I still do wonder if that string of atypical characters was a wise career move at that time. Fans are pretty fickle and I think they quickly gave up on the Meg Ryan they once knew.

  35. Well, I won't deny that I... didn't like In The Cut.

    I think that Meg's choice wasn't very wise. However I think she was just trying to shake her movies career a bit, and she admitted that she loves Jane Campion work, so she took that opportunity.

    It's obvious that she hates talking about her nude scenes, she admitted she doesn't like doing that.

    But she should had know that it's obvious this was gonna happen, because people aren't acostumated to see her naked.

    Her scenes in the movie weren't even that special, both she and Campion said that Meg denied doing alot of worse sex scenes, she didn't want to do it.

    She took this opportunity, but... I think she really regrets it a bit at least, een she denies it.

    Even on the famous Parkinson interview he admitted her scenes weren't that special (after some traded arguments), but what he really couldn't understand was the blowjob scene.

    Meg cleary was very bothered when they talked about that scene, but why didn't she say anything to Jane Campion about this? These are that kind of scenes that ruin movies, and unfortunely it can be connected to Meg but as a mistake, but it still can be connected.

    Probably, Meg didn't know about this scene or couldn't deny even more things to Jane, she already had demied doing alot of other scenes.

    But bttom line is: all this fuss is just becuase it's... Meg Ryan.

    I sincerely hope she doesn't do anything like this in the future, which is very probable because this movie really annoys her everytime people talk about it, and shed doesn't like doing nude scenes.

    And it's awesome that she looks much better now than when she made that weak plastic surgery. She removed all that mess.

    She now looks terrific! Just check out her interviow with Ellen, for example.

  36. Wow, I completely missed the fact that Jane Campion wrote and directed In the Cut. That goes a long way in explaining Ryan's choice to be in that movie. A long way. Maybe she thought it would do for her career what The Piano did for Holly Hunter, or maybe she just wanted to branch out artistically with an acclaimed director. Either way, she probably should have expected the backlash because of her reputation. Maybe not to the extent of Parkinson's disapproval (and she had every right to respond), but at least among her fanbase. Tough situation.

    I haven't seen her recently but in general I'm against plastic surgery, so if she did anything to reverse that, so much the better.

  37. Yeah, Meg said she loved Jane Campion work.

    The only reason she wanted to do this movie was because of Campion. At least many people understand what she tried to do.

    But hey, at least it seems that everyone is loving her right now... again.

    However, it really bothers me the double-standards.

    If in In The Cut we would have Nicole Kidman, or even... Naomi Watts... some others... there wouldn't be almost any kind of fuss, apart from the blowjob scene.

    Why the hell did Jane Campion want to put that awful scene on the movie? Why no-one asks that to her? I haven't seen a single person asking to her "why"...

  38. Yes, well I have to admit I completely overlooked the Campion situation with Ryan's decision to do that kind of work in In the Cut. And again, I can't speak to anything in that movie since I still haven't seen it. But then again I haven't seen most of Campion's work so I don't really know her filmmaking style. Her next project, Bright Star, has Oscar buzz all around it for this fall/winter.

    I do agree with you about Naomi Watts (if for no other reason than that her career-making role in Mulholland Drive was highly sexual, thus setting the tone for anything else), but I think there are other actresses for whom the double standard would apply, and I think Nicole Kidman is one of them. The closest she came was Eyes Wide Shut, I guess, but of course she was nude on screen with her husband. If she were to do that now I think she would get the same reaction as Ryan.

  39. Well, the movie wasnp't that special.

    The sex scenes weren't even strong, were normal, and a bit clunmsy...

    Meg Ryan denied alot of worse ones, and even the critics admit it.

    The only real thing that bothers everything (aside of being Meg Ryan in it, which I admit it was a surprise) it's the damn stupid blowjob scene.

    I'm really trying to figure it out why the hell Campion decided to put that scene...

    Yeah, it was a dildo, not a real penis, but still...

    By the way: I don't agree with you about Nicole Kidman.

    She already did appear nude in alot of movies before, and herself admitted that she doesn't bother doing them at all. So it's a different case.

    She's more... a "sexual symbol".

  40. Yes, I would admit Kidman is seen a bit differently, almost like Kate Winslet. Both are able to appear nude for the sake of the art and be respected for it instead of criticized.

    So I guess it continues to comes back to the double standard applied to Meg Ryan.

  41. Yup. But Meg Ryan has been getting alot of praises lately, and people love her.

    What's curious is that now it's Dennis Quaid, her ex-husband, who's getting more backlash mately, because people now now that he was the one who cheated her not the contrary.

  42. Well I don't know anything about their relationship or the problems that happened with it (and frankly I don't care), but I will say that they were awesome together in Innerspace.

  43. Yeah! I loved Innerspace aswell.

    I've just watched again In The Cut, and it's not a big deal.

  44. Nobody can not love Innerspace.

    I'm still not rushing to see In the Cut, but searches about it sure bring a lot of people here. I'm not all that excited about Campion's upcoming Bright Star, so maybe I should watch In the Cut instead and see what all the fuss is about. I just think I need more of a reason to sit through it.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. Hi Daniel, I'm a relative newcomer to Blogger so I hope you'll forgive me for commenting on this post nearly three years after the event.
    Meg Ryan and her films mean a lot to me and this post and the comments that follow are a wonderful examination of the sad decline of Meg's career over the last ten years or so.
    You've covered the subject so thoroughly that I can't add anything new, all I can say is that I totally agree about the double standards that have been applied to Meg by the industry and some sections of the media.
    Happily she has got a role in the film Lives Of The Saints and her first directoral gig in the near future so maybe ther's still some life in her career.
    Thanks again for a wonderful post.

  47. Hi Paul - forgive you for commenting? More like thank you! Always glad when an old one gets dusted off. For that matter, thanks for adding a sign of life to this blog, which I'm struggling to revive...

    Anyway, it's telling and yes, a little sad that this is three years old and her career remains mostly stagnant. I'm not familiar with Lives of the Saints or really anything she's done recently; hopefully she'll find some kind of role that will use her talents effectively.

    Thanks again for stopping by.

  48. No problem.
    I'm back again because I wanted to echo what you said in the comments about Meg and Dennis in Innerspace, they were awesome together in that and it's a film that always holds happy memories for me because it was the first time I ever saw Meg Ryan.
    I also watched Meg and Dennis in Flesh And Bone for the first time in years recently and I was very impressed.It made me wish I was back in 1993!

  49. For the people who thought that it was Parkinson who upset Meg in the interview. This clearly did not happen . Meg walked in and immediately had an "attitude". Parkinson has been interviewing for nearly 50 years and he never upset anybody else like this before. Draw your own conclusions.
    And to people who think Parkinson is a no name in America. It was on the Parkinson show that Steve Martin was spotted by Stanley Kubrick, which gave Steve the opportunity for his first movie "The Jerk".
    So unfortunately Meg made a tragic world wide PR blunder on the Parkinson show. Poor Meg.

  50. Hello, people.
    That's again adding some gunpowder to the topic.
    Indeed, Meg Ryan was too beautifulto resist in her early days of acting and the mids (the 90th).
    But well, she IS STILL beautiful now, being an mature woman, which is a natural thing. The only reason it is definitely hard to look up for SOME of the movies of the 2000th is that damn plastic surgery - that was her only error i guess. I mean - there is a movie - In the wild , where she presents white elephants. It was aired in the late 2002 so it should be right before that thing she did to her lips. She was okay there. Really. People - just never touch the lips and well, plastic surgery is in gerenal not that great thing. The aging is something one should get along with.

    You see, here we should really make the accents to the point that she IS a wonderfull actress.
    and i have to add to the discussion something in this regards -
    Almost everyone praised (rightfully!!!) Meg Ryan for her roles in romantic comedies or melodrama films.
    But she is clearly larger than that - just look her acting in the Flesh and Bone film.
    It is a drame, a wonderful and a deeply touching movie. It makes you thing and reflect on life and wider things. And there is a half-nude scene of love there. Come on. She is gorgeous there and plays to project human feelings that lovers share and explicitely not the hmm animal-porn-name_like_you_wish thing.

    I mean, that's one of top 10 movies of the 90-th completely overlooked by the public.
    ..and it is not "just an american story for american people", it is far more universal.
    and even for me, i.e. someone coming from the heart of the Russian (Siberia heh, no bears on the streets, trust me) it resonate at a full force.
    Some classical greek tragedy - damn, can't stop praising that movie - every one there plays well.

    So to be short - clearly Meg is not just some nice looking sweetheart that catch your heat for a sec between two coffees.
    She IS a beautiful woman, with a talent to act and to project feeling of a highest purity.
    The deal was - on my guess: bad divorce -> stupid plastic surgery (that's the baddest thing)
    -> some shave from that -> bad scripting for her controvesial films.

    I thing the bad scripting and not-that-great directors decisions brough to the light the setuation we discussed here. Maybe she was jsut desperate to get some work?

    I just wish her luck, strengh and shine like a dimond to us, from the screen one more.


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