Meg Ryan revealed that her children are mortified by her famous fake orgasm scene from her classic 1989 romantic comedy “When Harry Met Sally.”
In the scene, Ryan’s character Sally loudly demonstrates how women can fake reaching sexual climax in front of Billy Crystal’s Harry and all the other patrons at New York City’s Katz’s Deli.
During a conversation with Carol Burnett for Interview magazine, the 61-year-old actress, who is set to make her return to the big screen for the first time in eight years, shared how her son Jack Quaid, 31, and daughter Daisy Ryan, 19, really feel about the iconic movie moment.
“It’s funny, my son just called me this morning and he’s in New York staying at a hotel that’s right across the street from Katz’s Deli. My daughter was here and everybody was on speaker, and they were like, ‘Mom, this is a very unique embarrassment,’” Ryan told Burnett, 90, with a laugh.
She continued, “He said, ‘You know you can go into that deli and there’s an arrow pointing down to the table where you shot that scene.’”
“Oh God,” the comedy icon responded.
“I wonder if it’s the right one,” Ryan added.
Ryan shares Jack with her ex-husband Dennis Quaid, 69, and she adopted Daisy in 2006.
The Connecticut native went on to recall that the cast and crew filmed the fake orgasm scene “over and over and over again.”
During a 2019 “When Harry Met Sally” reunion panel with Ryan, Crystal and director Rob Reiner, Reiner explained that the scene required multiple takes and said he stepped in for Ryan at one point to show her how he wanted the moment to play out.
“The first couple of times, it was like, ‘I need it more, I need it more.’ And then it was ‘Let me show you.’ So I sat across from Billy,” Reiner remembered.
“He had an orgasm Mighty Joe Young would have been proud of,” Crystal joked.
Crystal also recalled how many times Ryan had to act the scene out to get it right. “On the other side of her, I ate 27 pastrami sandwiches,” the six-time Emmy Award winner said. “For any Jew, that’s a lot.”
“When Harry Met Sally” became a box office hit and remains an enduring comedy classic. The part of Sally marked Ryan’s first leading role in a movie and she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
Ryan went on to become the queen of 90s rom-coms, starring in a number of the genre’s most popular films including “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.”
Following an eight-year hiatus from acting, Ryan will next be seen in the upcoming movie “What Happens Later,” which also stars David Duchovny. The film also marks Ryan’s first romanic comedy role in 15 years.
In addition to starring in “What Happens Now,” Ryan also directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Dietz and Kirk Lynn. In 2015, the actress made her directorial debut with the drama “Ithaca,” in which she also starred alongside her son Jack.
“Truly, the easiest part was acting in it,” Ryan told Burnett during their Interview conversation.
She continued, “I want to direct again just so I can sit in the chair, because I’m sure there’s a lot of things I missed. I hadn’t done a role in a really long time, but it was fun with David.”
“A lot of it was done in two shots. I’m proud of that. I set up everything beforehand so that once we were there, it was just David and I trying to tell the truth.”
In the movie, Ryan and Duchovny play ex-lovers who reunite decades after their split when they are stranded at an airport during a snowstorm.
Ryan explained that she began working on the screenplay while quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They sent me the script— which was a first or second draft by the playwright [Dietz]—based on a play called ‘Shooting Star,'” Ryan recalled.
She continued, “I had just moved to California at the beginning of the pandemic and it was this big collective pause, so that script got me thinking about what was happening in the world, how we were all kind of put under a glass.”
“I started working on it and over the course of a year and a half, the script evolved and David came on. We got to know each other over these Zoom calls and some of those conversations found their way into the script, too.”
“What Happens Later” will be released in theaters on Oct. 13.