The star recalls how Nora Ephron's film sets felt like a "great dinner party, you just didn't want to leave"
The actress co-wrote, directed and stars in What Happens Later, her return to romantic comedies that she also dedicated to Ephron.
Ryan made several movies with Ephron, including Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, before the Oscar-nominated writer/director's death in 2012.
Ryan, 61, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue that Ephron was "just the queen of setting the stage in terms of feeling."
"She was very prepared. Her love of creating was contagious," she recalls. "The set felt like going to a great dinner party. You just didn't want to leave."
Ephron also co-wrote 1989's When Harry Met Sally..., another of the rom-coms that cemented Ryan as America's Sweetheart, a label she doesn't necessarily buy into.
"The idea of a movie star is 100 percent projection," she says. "So it’s really not personal, frankly. And I am so lucky because I can feel a lot of affection in the world. People tell me that when they were recovering from an illness or surgery, they watch those movies. I don’t feel like there’s been some negative thing."
She adds of her collaborations with Ephron and dedicating her new movie to her, "I feel like I have so many blessings in my life, really because of her. I just wanted to say thank you."
For more of Ryan's exclusive interview, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.
In What Happens Later, Ryan and costar David Duchovny play exes stuck together in an airport during a storm. She says the themes reminded her of messages from her Ephron projects, "sentimental ideas" she "loves" to explore.
"Nora Ephron, the movies I did with her had an operative thing about kismet, like destiny and fate, that fate holds you; you're destined for this person," she explains. "There's something really comforting about that. I think the same is true for this movie."
What Happens Later is in theaters Nov. 3.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.