For the first time since 1998, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan will be appearing in a movie together. In 2015, Ryan completed work on her first film as director, Ithaca, which will hit theaters on September 9. The film counts Hanks as a producer and also includes a cameo from the actor. Hanks also stars in Clint Eastwood’s Sully, which opens to a much wider audience this weekend.
Here’s a look at Hanks and Ryan’s relationship over the years. And no, the two have never dated.
1. ‘Ithaca’ Is Their First Movie Together Since 1998’s ‘You’ve Got Mail’
Although Ryan and Hanks are synonymous with the romantic comedy movies of the 1990s, they only made three movies together during that period – Joe Versus The Volcano (1990), Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998). The last two were directed by the late Nora Ephron. Ithaca, which was finished last year and is just now getting released, is their first movie together since You’ve Got Mail.
The film is based on William Saroyan’s The Human Comedy, which was previously filmed by MGM in 1943. It’s a coming-of-age story set during World War II and was filmed in Virginia. Hanks was also an executive producer on the film, along with his Playtone producing partner Gary Goetzman. Ryan’s son, Jack Quaid, is one of the stars in the film.
2. Ryan Said Hanks’ Decision to be in ‘Ithaca’ Was ‘Such an Act of Friendship’
Ryan plays a widow who is left to care for her two sons in a small California town during World War II. She often sees visions of her dead husband, played by Hanks. It’s a small role, but Ryan told Entertainment Weekly that she was grateful for him making the cameo.
She said of Hanks:
He’s just so dear. He so did not have to do that. It took him a day to [shoot his scene]. At the end of his time, he says to the crew, “All right, gather ‘round. Listen, I know we’ve gotten to know each other very well over the last 10 hours together, but I just want to thank you for being here for my friend Meg.” It was such an act of friendship. I love him so much.
Ithaca is also Ryan’s first movie role since 2009’s Serious Moonlight. In the interim, she’s appeared in Web Therapy and did an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. She also narrated the pilot for How I Met Your Dad, a spin-off of How I Met Your Mother that CBS declined to pick up. She also appeared in Fan Girl with Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka.
3. When Doing Press for ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ Hanks Said It Was Like Picking Up Right Where They Left Off After ‘Sleepless in Seattle’
During the press tour for You’ve Got Mail, Hanks made it sound like they loved working together and their films do show an incredible chemistry. That’s what makes it even more surprising to realize that they haven’t made many films together.
“In the course of the history of the movies there’s an awful lot of creative teams that periodically got together. Sometimes they’re men, sometimes they’re women,” Hanks said in one 1998 interview. “With Meg, this is the 3rd movie I’ve made with her and we pick up where we left off.”
That was the theme for the You’ve Got Mail press tour, as the two told CNN while promoting the movie that it was like they never stopped working together.
“…It was not like work. I mean, now, the vast majority of making movies is getting over your self-consciousness,” Hanks told CNN.
In the other 1998 interview, Hanks praised Ryan as “very smart,” adding that, “I always feel as if I have to be on my toes around Meg.”
4. Ryan Jokingly Called Hanks a ‘Dominatrix’ in Her AFI Tribute Speech for Him
In 2002, Hanks was honored with the 30th AFI Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Of course, Ryan was asked to speak and you can see her speech in the above video.
During her speech, she recalled how she met Hanks years before they made Joe Versus the Volcano and she explained why she thought Hanks was a “dominatrix.”
“I think that Tom informs all the other Toms: Tom the movie lover; Tom the movie-doer; the movie lover; Tom the baseball cap-wearing nibbler of little corn-on-the-cob thingies; Tom the man who appreciates these awards, but certainly doesn’t need them because his life is enough,” she said. “The guy who finds what is noble and what is fine and what is simple and finds the extraordinary in what is ordinary.”
5. Their First Film Together, ‘Joe Versus The Volcano,’ Earned a Great Review From Roger Ebert
The Hanks/Ryan partnership got off to a good start with Joe Versus the Volcano, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Doubt). The film was a hit, earning $39.4 million when it hit theaters in March 1990. It did receive mixed reviews from critics, but one champion of the film, in which Ryan has three roles, was Roger Ebert.
Ebert wrote a glowing review of the film, giving it 3.5 out of four stars. Ebert wrote:
Joe Versus the Volcano achieves a kind of magnificent goofiness. Hanks and Ryan are the right actors to inhabit it, because you can never catch them going for a gag that isn’t there: They inhabit the logic of this bizarre world and play by its rules.