In the film, which is also co-written and directed by Ryan, the actors play former lovers who are reunited and snowed in as a storm delays their respective connecting flights. As optimist Willa (Ryan) and pessimist Bill (Duchovny) unpack their shared history, two decades after their split, their enduring personal connection appears undeniable.
“When people break up, there’s the thing that they tell each other and then there’s the truth,” Willa declares at one point. “But you never told me.”
Bill fires back, “I was in love with you! And I couldn’t turn that on and off like a switch.”
Later, Willa asks, “Have you ever wondered, ‘What if?’”
What Happens Later is based on Steven Dietz’s play, “Shooting Star.” Dietz co-wrote the screenplay with Ryan and playwright and novelist Kirk Lynn.
The film is set for a theatrical release in October via Bleecker Street.
See the trailer below.
News of Ryan’s latest project was first announced last year, with the iconic actress sharing a poster image and the caption, “HERE WE GO!!”
“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,” What Happens Later producers said in a press release at the time. “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.”
In an interview with New York Times Magazine in 2019, Ryan opened up about her success with romantic comedies in the ’90s, and how it felt to return to the form after stepping away from Hollywood for several years.
“[Rom-coms were] probably [my strong suit],” she admitted. “I liked doing the alcoholic in When a Man Loves a Woman; I liked doing In the Cut; but I was very happy going to a set that was about: How do you find the funny thing? I like that again now, working on a romantic comedy.”
The actress also revealed at the time that she was in the process of writing a rom-com to star in. “Hopefully it’s for me to direct. I’m aware now that romantic comedies are confections, but they have construction. There’s architecture,” she shared. “It’s not something I was aware of back then.”