When Hairy met Sally

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"Hi, aren't you Meg Ryan?" I shyly ask in the coffee lineup at Rocket Bakery. "Yes, aren't you Steve Bartlett?" she replies with movie star confidence.

Meg Ryan, star of "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," knows who I am!

Blushing like a boy being teased about his first kiss, I manage to ask her how she knows me.

"From Twitter," she replies, "When my boyfriend John (Mellencamp) announced his concert here, you tweeted, 'It was a little Twitter about Jack and Diane.' We thought that was really, really funny, and started reading your blog. We've been reading it ever since and we love it."

What? A movie star and her rock star boyfriend love my writing! I'm pretty chuffed about it.

"Actually we were going to contact you while we were here. Why don't you sit and drink your coffee with me?" Ryan asks. "There's something I'd like to discuss."

I obviously agree to have my coffee with Meg Ryan, not knowing at all what to expect.

"So," she says, "we read your blogs from the election buses in October and they flicked a creative switch for us. We started putting together a screenplay for a comedy based loosely on your work. In it, two election buses travel a diverse rural area with the two political leaders duking it out on the campaign trail. The comedy comes from the strategists as well as the characters they meet on the road. Our working title is 'The X Factor.'"

My jaw hits the floor and words escape. After what feels like 456.34 hours, I finally manage to ask if she's pulling my leg.

"I'm not," Ryan promises. "And we're wondering if you could get a few months leave from work and add your input to the screenplay? We're filming it here. I'm going to play the character based loosely on Kathy Dunderdale and Dan Aykroyd is chomping at the bit to play Kevin Aylward. He loves St. John's, and has been wanting to do a movie here since last year's comedy fest. He also gets that Crystal Head Vodka done here."

Words can't describe how flattered and excited I am. Get leave to work on a movie? Sign me up!

"And we're going to try and get Russell involved, too" Ryan adds.

"Russell Crowe?" I ask.

"No, Wangersky," she says. "We love his writing and sense of humour, too."

"In terms of other actors," the actress continues, "we're trying to get Michael Douglas to play a supporting character based on Danny Williams, and Jessica Lange is interested in playing Lorraine Michael, who'll be much more evil in the movie. Oh, and you might enjoy this, we're also thinking about getting Peter Jackson involved in the writing."

"Peter Jackson, from 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit'?" I ask, amazed.

"No," Ryan laughs, "Peter Jackson from The Telegram. We're hoping our Tely trio can really make up a good script for us."

OK, OK - speaking of making things up, this column is 100 per cent fiction. I was just having some fun writing on a sunny, summer Sunday.

Hope you don't mind me pulling your Meg.


Steve Bartlett apologizes for ending with a groaner, but he's sure you don't expect anything more. Reach him via email at sbartlett@thetelegram.com or follow his tweets at SteveBartlett_.

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