Meg Ryan has returned to her journalist roots to pen a tribute essay about late director pal Nora Ephron in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
The movie star, who studied to become a writer at New York University, starred in two films Ephron directed and When Harry Met Sally..., which she wrote - and became a friend of the moviemaker, who lost her secret battle with cancer last month (Jun12).
Ryan, who attended her late pal's New York memorial service on Monday (09Jul12), recalls the last time she met Ephron "at a small dinner party at a mutual friend's apartment on the Upper East Side," recalling, "It was funny and fun, the six of us catching up. Those are the nights - you just don't want them to end. She always had an opinion. A love of the precisely observed moment. She got such a big kick out of people who could turn a phrase."
And then going further back to when she first worked with the screenwriter and moviemaker, Ryan adds, "Her directing and screenwriting career was such a natural step out of her observational essays. When you write essays, you control the entire experience, every bit of punctuation. I think it made her a precision operator on a movie set, too.
"It matters if you take a pause or say 'the' and not 'a'. On one movie, she went on a campaign against the color Yankee blue. She earned that perfection, and it was her pleasure to earn it.
"In the When Harry script they talk about the fact that women faked orgasms. And I thought, 'Well, I'm just gonna do it.' It sort of came together on the day, and it was so much fun to do. But the film captured the real essence of romantic comedy: that people in love share language, they share rhythm, even though they're so different. She and (director) Rob Reiner distilled what worked about those fantastic comedies of the '30s and '40s and modernized it, brought it back."
Concluding her essay, Ryan adds, "Whenever you worked with her, it was the same as going to a party she hosted. People were relaxed; they were well fed. They were happy and intelligent and calm. You looked forward to sitting in director's chairs between takes, talking. It was fun. Easy. Simple. And not complicated."