American actress Blanchard Ryan is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Susan in “Open Water” (2003), from which she won a 2005 Saturn Award. Also in 2005, she was handed an Emerging Maverick Award from the Cinequest San Jose Film Festival. Ryan has appeared in other films, including Brian Lynch's “Big Helium Dog” (1999), the Broken Lizard movies “Super Troopers” (2001) and “Beerfest” (2006), Joe Otting's “Under New Management” (2009) and Nancy Meyer's “It's Complicated” (2009). The Boston native has also guest starred in “Sex and the City,” “All My Children” and “Cupid.”
Ryan is an avid fan of hockey. She also enjoys visiting zoos and aquariums and reading mystery novels. She was an aerobic instructor and circus performer at the Club Med Ixtapa in Mexico.
Childhood and Family:
Blanchard Ryan was born Susan Blanchard Ryan on January 12, 1967, in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father, Ron Ryan, was the president of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and ex-coach and general manager of the now defunct Hartford Whalers. Her mother, Brenda, teaches French. Blanchard was educated at the prestigious Phillips Academy at Andover, in Massachusetts and later graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA degree in political philosophy.
Ryan is married to actor Steve Lemme (born November 13, 1968) of the Broken Lizard comedy group.
Blanchard Ryan got her start as a model while a student at the University of New Hampshire. After graduating, she landed work at the special effects department of MTV and began acting in commercials while studying acting and improvisation in New York City. In 1998, Ryan starred with Philippe Mao in “On a Sidewalk in the Fall,” a short film directed by David Schulhoff, and had a part in the Julie Lynch independent film “Remembering Sex,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 17, 1998. The following year, she appeared with Broken Lizard members Steve Lemme, Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan and Erik Stolhanske in the comedy film “Big Helium Dog,” which was written and directed by Brian Lynch. The film earned positive reviews at various film festivals.
Entering the new millennium, Ryan appeared as a saleswoman in “Running with Scissors” (2000), an episode of the HBO hit series “Sex and the City” (1998-2004), starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon. She also appeared in a December 2000 episode of the ABC soap opera “All My Children.” She then received the supporting role of Sally in the Broken Lizard film “Super Troopers” (2001), which received mixed reviews from critics, costarred as Diana Dytwicz in the David W. Leitner award winning movie “My Sister's Wedding” (2001), opposite Melissa Lee and Jessie Hutcheson, and worked with Brett Halsey and Don Draxler on the short film “Exceed” (2001), which won director Julian M. Kheel a Jury Award for Best Short Comedy at the 2001 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.
In 2003, Ryan starred with Daniel Travis in “Open Water,” a horror film based on the true story of an American couple who in 1998 went out with a scuba diving group on the Great Barrier Reef and were accidentally left behind. Written and directed by Chris Kentis, the film was shown at various film festivals, including the 2003 Hamptons International Film Festival, the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the 2004 Provincetown International Film Festival before receiving a limited release in the U.S. in August 2004. It grossed $30 million at the domestic market and over $50 million worldwide. For her portrayal of Susan Watkins, Ryan was handed a Saturn for Best Actress. The same year, she also appeared in the short film “Bun-Bun.”
Following the success of “Open Water,” Ryan, however, did not appear in another film until 2006 when she was cast as Krista Krundle in the Broken Lizard comedy feature “Beerfest.” She followed it up with gigs in 2008 when she was cast with Steven Seagal, Lance Henriksen, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Arthur J. Nascarella in the direct to video “Pistol Whipped” (originally known as “The Marker”), and supported Edoardo Ballerini in “No Exit,” a thriller loosely adapted from the French play “Huis Clos” by Jean-Paul Sartre. She also portrayed Samantha, opposite Danny Masterson as Fitz and Leon Robinson as Ronald, in Julian Mark Kheel's action comedy “The Brooklyn Heist,” which premiered at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival on November 1, 2008, and starred as Francis Sweete in the American/Canadian television film “Fatal Kiss,” which was directed by Jason Bourque.
In 2009, Ryan worked with Kelly Overton, Dylan Baker, Christian Stolte and Chris Diamantopoulos on “Under New Management,” a romantic comedy helmed by Joe Otting and written by Denis Hamill. She then played Dana Ewing in the short “Cold Calls” and appeared in an episode of “Cupid” called “Shipping Out.” In addition, she portrayed Annalise in “It's Complicated,” a comedy starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin that was written and directed by Nancy Meyers. The film earned primarily negative reviews from critics but managed to receive Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Streep). The movie opened at No. 4 at the U.S. box office.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films: Saturn Award, Best Actress, “Open Water,” 2005
Cinequest San Jose Film Festival: Emerging Maverick Award, 2005