Meg Ryan praises Edinburgh at premiere of new film

As she brought her directorial debut Ithaca to the Edinburgh International Film Festival for its UK premiere tonight, Meg Ryan said being in the Scottish capital helped her understand why the city is such a global arts hub.

“I understand it now, being here, why the arts come here, and so many different kinds of artists,” said the Hollywood star, who is best known for her roles in When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle. There’s something about it.

“It’s absolutely beautiful but there’s a certain type of energy, or a throb, that happens here.

“I feel happy to have brought it (Ithaca) here. You have so many different kinds of arts festivals and it feels like an honour.”

The actress-turned-director mingled with fans and posed for pictures at the event, held at the city’s Cineworld venue at Fountainbridge.

Speaking on the red carpet at tonight’s event, Ryan said the “single-minded focus” needed to be a director was the toughest part about getting behind the camera for her latest movie.

Asked about the biggest challenge she faced, the 54-year-old said:  “The kind of single-minded focus. When you act in a film you’re there for three, four months tops. This was a good long 18 months of concentrating on one thing.

“And I think the biggest surprise was not what I didn’t know about directing, but what I did, just by osmosis from being on a film set, acting on a set.”

Ithaca co-stars Tom Hanks, who is also executive producer on the film.

It marks the fourth time that Ryan and Hanks have appeared together on the big screen and the first time since their 1998 film You’ve Got Mail.

Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan’s 1943 novel, Ithaca centres around the fictional town of Ithaca, California during World War II.

The film also stars Ryan’s son Jack Quaid, who plays Marvel in The Hunger Games movies.