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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 July 2015
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 JULY 2015 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT The power of ambition With her sights set on developing her craft, aspiring actress Zoe Markos has returned from LA more inspired than ever ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Aspiring actress Zoe Markos has just returned from the trip of a lifetime. After completing a 20-week course with The Australian Film and Television Academy (TAFTA), she was granted the opportunity to take part in an acting program based in Los Angeles - a dream come true for the 19-year-old. "I took the opportunity up and just pretty much got on a plane. I took a risk in doing it - and it turned out to be the best experience!" Ms Markos tells Neos Kosmos. She is not alone in her venture abroad to develop her craft. For much of Australia's talent, travel to the home of the Hollywood blockbuster seems to be a shared ambition; think of the late Heath Ledger, Chris Hemsworth and Rebel Wilson, amongst a long line of others. "I've always looked to America because it was there, because movies were coming out of America," she explains. "But as I've gotten older, the Australian industry has really inspired me because I think that we're producing great TV and it's really inspiring to see being such a small industry." While in the Unites States, Ms Markos attended an acting school run by Australian actors John and Jess Orscik. There she was given the opportunity to meet a number of managers, agents and casting directors such as Matthew Barry, responsible for the casting of The Notebook, starring Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling. An intensive course, Ms Markos took part in classes from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm on a regular basis, and was taught by a number of experienced teachers, including American Adrienne Frantz, best known for her role as Amber Moore in The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless. Although she recalls stories of her father having dabbled in acting many years ago, she identifies as the creative one in the family. From the age of five, she remembers writing and performing plays for her extended family. "I used to be that kid who would write plays and perform them with my cousins in front of our parents every weekend." But it was at 15 that she recognised an ability within herself, and since then she has not looked back. "It was always in the back of my mind, and when I left grade six and started high school, I think that's when I really knew that one day I would start to pursue it," she says. It's not uncommon for high school to be an unkind and turbulent period for most teenagers, and Ms Markos was no different. Lacking confidence while growing up, it was acting that changed her outlook on life. Enrolling into a private acting school, there she was mentored by Neighbours actress Eliza Taylor, and after three years felt it was time to move on to bigger and better things at TAFTA. "They've really improved my skills as an actress, and doing this LA course for six weeks has really progressed everything for me," she says. "When I was 15 I just thought I really want to show who I am and I really want to express who I am. Acting's been the one thing that I can really express who I am with. It's kind of an escape and it makes me happy. I love just getting to be a different character and exploring what I can do with other characters as well." For the aspiring actress, the highlight of her overseas experience stems from her greatest challenge: replicating the American accent. "The American accent was very much a difficult thing for me but we had one of the best American dialect coaches training us. "At the end of the six weeks we got to perform in front of the manager and he commented on my American accent - that was a highlight for me." Growing up watching local favourites Neighbours and Home and Away, Ms Markos also had strong female role models in actresses DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Zoe Markos on her recent trip to LA. such as Cameron Diaz and fellow Hellene Jennifer Aniston - someone she looks up to, with her newfound passion for comedy. Although visiting the US has given the young actress an insight into the challenges and competitiveness associated with her chosen path, it's clear to see that she is as motivated as ever. "Coming back from LA, it's pushed me even further to try and build a body of work in Australia. It makes me want to push further just to keep going because I think giving up is the easy option. If you keep going, yeah it will be tough but one day you'll get somewhere," she ensures. But for the 19-year-old, of all her experiences, nothing beats the feeling of holding an authentic Emmy award in her hands. Perhaps one day you too, Zoe, will have the chance to hold your very own. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 to hit theatres A follow-up to the 2002 comedy is being filmed Good news for movie lovers, as it appears that My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is a step closer to arriving in theatres after filming wrapped up last week. The film's star and writer, Nia Vardalos (in the role of Toula Portokalos), made the announcement on Instagram a day after posting a selfie with shirtless co-star John Corbett (Ian Miller), all smiles. The actress received an Oscar nomination for writing the original film, in which she played an unmarried woman going through a mid-life crisis, who then meets a handsome schoolteacher who takes her fancy. She gets a new job, a makeover, and eventually a new boyfriend in the form of the teacher. Her family is initially reluctant to accept him because he is not ethnically Greek, but the two continue to date. The movie ends with the couple's blissful wedding. It's been 13 years since the original romantic comedy wooed audiences, grossing more than US$240 million in North America, even though it was made for just US$5 million. Thus, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was made. The sequel will bring the loud and loving Portokalos family back together for another wedding that is said to be bigger, fatter and wilder than the last. Along with the clashes of personality inherent in such a reunion, the Portokalos family must also confront an unearthed family secret. With a touch of sarcastic humour, Nia Vardalos comments on the inspiration for a sequel. "Now that I'm experiencing motherhood, I'm ready to write the next chapter of my family story. Of course, a few jaded folks in the press corps will claim I ran out of money or just want to kiss John Corbett again. One of these things is true," she says. Seventeen-year-old Elena Kampouris, who was seen on the NBC drama American Odyssey, will be joining the memorable Portokalos family, while it is said that John Stamos (best known as Jesse Katsopolis on the ABC sitcom Full House) will also appear in some scenes. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is set to hit theatres on 25 March 2016. Nia Vardalos and John Corbett all smiles while on the set of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
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