"He did us such a beautiful favor and he's just such a mensch. Such a lovely guy," Ryan told ET's Carly Steel at the New York premiere of her new film on Thursday. While Hanks is only in a small scene in the film, Ryan said he "made everyone smile when he was there."
As for directing the two-time Oscar winner, who she's previously starred alongside in You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle and Joe Versus the Volcano, Ryan explained Hanks needed no guidance.
"You don't have to [direct him], he just gets it," she explained. "He asks great questions, and he's lovely to be around."
Directing Ithaca also gave the 54-year-old star a chance to work with her 24-year-old son, actor Jack Quaid. According to Ryan, the experience of making the film was very similar to raising her son.
"He's always been such a creative kid, he was always directing things of his own around the house and acting in these crazy little movies he and his friends would always make," Ryan recounted. "At a certain point [during filming] there's a little sort of chaotic scene on a train and I thought, 'This is really no different than my last 20 years with Jack Quaid.'"
Quaid spoke with ET earlier this year where he said working on a film with his mother as the director was "spectacular."
"I was kind of nervous about it at first and then realized, no one knows you better than your mom. So no one's going to be able to direct you better than your own mom. So that was great," Quaid said. "We had a great shorthand with each other. She's a phenomenal director. I'm so proud of her."
Ithaca follows the life of a young telegraph messenger in 1942 whose father has died and whose brother has gone off to fight in World War II. The drama hits theaters and is available on demand on Friday.