Meg Ryan is not yet revealing the actor behind "Hal Liggett," who voices a character named "Airport Voice" in 'What Happens Later'
After a special screening of What Happens Later in New York City Monday, Ryan, 61, and Duchovny, 63, addressed the uncredited voice of an airport announcer heard throughout the romantic comedy.
Other than that voice, Ryan and Duchovny play the film's only two characters — and curiosity is building after Jimmy Kimmel guessed the disembodied voice may belong to Tom Hanks during the pair's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live last Wednesday.
Duchovny denied that Hanks is in the movie on Monday before he confessed even he does not know who did the voice work for the film.
"I wasn't there when they did all that, that was all in [postproduction]," he said. "I don't even know if it's a man."
The official credit for "Airport Voice" in What Happens Later, Ryan's second movie as a director, is listed as Hal Liggett, a pseudonym for an actor whom Ryan does not yet want to reveal.
"All I can say about Hal Ligget is that he's somehow able to put his heart and his soul [into the part]," Ryan said of the still-unknown actor. "He got laughs," Duchovny added.
"He got laughs and he's an extremely generous performer, and I can't say much more," Ryan shared of the actor's performance. "I just am so grateful that he did the movie."
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Duchovny went on to joke that Hal Liggett is a pseudonym for Barack Obama, while Ryan shared that the name draws from the artificial intelligence HAL 9000 from the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. "Sometimes he's just information and sometimes it's just got so much soul," she said. "When he tells [her What Happens Later character Willa] not to lose heart, it's all in that voice. He's beautiful."
Ryan's new movie meets ex-lovers Bill and Willa years after their breakup, when they unexpectedly meet at an airport for the first time in years. The pair are snowed in by a surprise snowstorm, leaving them to confront their past together while they are stuck in the airport overnight.
"For the chance to work with Meg in a comedy like this, I mean I was going to do it immediately," Duchovny said during Monday's Q&A. "And Meg and I started talking about it, and it took a year to get everything going."
Duchovny shared that "the dirty secret about movie making is nobody ever rehearses" while he spoke to how he and Ryan rehearsed significantly for the film.
"But we rehearsed and we rehearsed on Zoom. We just read and read, and read," he said. "And Meg would change, she'd go back and rewrite. And then by the time we got there, I had done more rehearsal than I've ever done in my life for anything, and it was fantastic.
What Happens Later is in theaters Friday.
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