On The Avenue

Meg Ryan Hosts New York Premiere of “Ithaca”

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Meg Ryan== The Cinema Society with Brooks Brothers and Bird In Hand Host a Screening of Momentum Pictures' "Ithaca"== Landmark Sunshine Theater, NYC== September 8, 2016== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Paul Bruinooge/PMC== ==
Friday, September 9, 2016

America’s sweetheart Meg Ryan makes her directorial debut with Ithaca, out September 9. On September 8, Ryan joined co-star and lead actor Alex Neustaedter at the New York premiere of the film.

“We made Ithaca in 23 days in Virginia on a teeny little budget,” said Ryan before the theater lights dimmed for the movie’s start. “It was such a labor of love. Thank you for coming and supporting the movie. And to any of our cast and crew who are here but haven’t seen it yet, I hope you’re proud of what we did together.”

The film is a coming of age story of Homer Macauley (Neustaedter), a 14-year-old boy growing up at the start of World Wat II in Ithaca, New York who is determined to become the fastest bicycle telegraph messenger in the business. Homer’s older brother Marcus (played by Ryan’s son Jack Quaid) has gone to war. His father (played by Tom Hanks) has died, leaving Homer as the man of the house. Thrust into his new role, the movie shows Homer’s transition from innocence to adulthood, all while delivering telegraph messages of love, hope and death.

Best known for her roles in When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, Ryan moves into the director’s chair for Ithaca.

“It was incredible,” said Neustaedter of working with Ryan. “She’s such a good director and she really knows how to manipulate a performance to impact a story and a film in the way that she wants it. And a lot of that comes from her being such a good actress and she knows how to communicate with other actors. She also just has such a good eye for a shot and the film is beautiful.”

Neustaedter opted to take on the role because of his love of period pieces. “I was heartbroken with the story,” he said of his first time reading the script. “It was a story that I really wanted to tell because it focused so much on family and how important that isl and how important love it. Those are things that really drew me to it.”

Hanks, Ryan’s co-star in When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, joined the cast and crew for a day to film his scenes. “It was such a crazy day,” said Neustaedter. “He just made the biggest presence.”

The premiere, which was hosted by The Cinema Society, Brooks Brothers and Bird in Hand, was held at Landmark Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side. After the screening, guests headed to Harold’s Meat + Three at Arlo Hudson Square to celebrate. Attendees sipped on Bird and Hand wine, as Neustaedter, his star on the rise, held court by the entrance to the courtyard.

Other attendees included, from the film: Lois Robbins, Robin Skye, Drigan Lee; producer Janet Brenner, executive producer Bob Immerman; as well as Dana Delany, Louisa Krause (Billions), Ryan Cooper, Sean Young, Carol Alt, Nichole Galicia, Julie Taymor, Nick Simmons, Alex Lundqvist, Dale Moss, Daniel Benedict, Sophie Sumner, Phillip Bloch, Betina Holte, and Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir.

Photos by Paul Bruinooge/PMC


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