With movies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss, and many more, Meg Ryan became America’s sweetheart and the face of the romantic comedy in the 1990s. While she occasionally took a grittier, more serious role, like in Courage Under Fire, she consciously cultivated her public persona — for instance, she reportedly was offended by the offer to play Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs.

While Ryan is still very much working, and still endearing to boot, there hasn’t been an actress in recent years that has really dominated the rom-com genre like she once did. Drew Barrymore came close for a minute. It looked like Renee Zellwegger might step into that role for a bit, and the same for Reese Witherspoon. Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson gave it a shot, and Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone both seem like they could still make a go of it, if they wanted to. Hollywood has never had a shortage of actresses looking to break into the business, so we’ve put together a list of some young talents with the potential to take over the Queen of Rom-Coms title once held by Meg Ryan.

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Britt Robertson
Britt Robertson is already poised to have a big 2015. Not only does she star alongside George Clooney in the fantastic Disney adventure Tomorrowland, this weekend she graces movie screens in the romantic drama The Longest Ride. Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, it seems likely this will make a ton of money and be derided by critics at the same time. One thing that Sparks adaptations do accomplish, however, is to make its intended audience weepy with a tale of mismatched lovers who come together against the odds. Robertson plays a college student who falls in love with a rodeo cowboy. There is a definite crossover between fans of The Notebook, The Lucky One, and other Sparks fare, and rom-com enthusiasts, so Robertson wanted, she could likely parlay this into any number of similar roles in the future.

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