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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 March 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM los returns write the follow-up script for My Big Fat Greek Wedding Vardalos tried everything from holistic health approaches, alt medicine, acupuncture, to working with two surrogates. Finally, she and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, came across a free service: Foster Family Agencies. One unexpected day, the social workers ‘matched’ her with a three-year-old girl, with whom Nia connected instantly, as if she were her biological daughter. "As you probably know from my book, the story is about me being a mom, and I can't write about something I haven't experienced, since I create stories on improvisation and based on personal experiences," she repeats. "It's just that simple. "The struggle to become a parent was so difficult for me that there was no way I could do the sequel directly after the film because I was in a private, secret hell. I was in a very bad place emotionally." Vardalos could finally connect with the feelings of motherhood. In fact, she found she connected a bit too much. In the flick she returns as Toula Miller, mother of teenage Paris Miller, played by actress Elena Kampouris. Chicago couple Toula and Ian are struggling not only to keep up with a demanding Greek family which is putting a lot of strain on their marriage, but also with their only daughter's decision to study in New York in an effort to escape her 'Greek reality'. "Through Toula's story I discovered I've actually become the overbearing mum. I've become my mother. I am Toula, I am my family," she says, admitting that like her leading character, she wants to be around her daughter all the time, which can sometimes be a little suffocating. "I have found myself always too close to her, never knowing when to step back. My Greek excuse is that it's what we call good parenting." When Vardalos finished the script, she only sent it to her on-screen husband John Corbett, the first person to come on board. When she finally got the green light to film the sequel, she brought back the entire cast from the original movie. "I am so excited that every person who was in the original film is back; showing where the Portokalos family is at right now." "When My Big Fat Greek Wedding was released 15 years ago, you all told me that you saw your family in my family, whether you are Greek, Italian, Chinese or from Peru. You all seem to have an aunt Voula with a lump on the back of her neck which she thinks is her twin!" Vardalos has a special connection with Australia, which is why she chose it for the world premiere. In both Sydney and Melbourne she was joined on the white carpet by dozens of Australian relatives and fellow actors. "I can definitely tell you that there will also be a third one," she enthused jokingly, endorsing the idea of a shoot in Australia. Finally, when asked what she would say to those who might find the film is promoting a ‘stereotype-laden’ and ‘offensive’ image of the Greek diaspora she said: "I actually never met anyone who is offended by the movie. At the end of the day it's just comedy. "This is my story, this is me, I'm Toula and my approach to comedy is 'Come laugh with me'." *Universal has slated My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 for a March 25 release. THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2016 15 FEATURE George Kapiniaris and Kostas Kilias. PHOTO: JIM LEE. Nia Vardalos with Neos Kosmos journalists Nelly Skoufatoglou and Anastasia Tsirtsakis.
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