Nia Vardalos: "I couldn't find a job in Hollywood because I was Greek"

Nia Vardalos

The creator of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" - the Greek-Canadian actress, screenwriter and film producer Nia Vardalos - made a series of shocking and touching confessions, addressing the audience of the Power Trip Conference organised by Marie Claire magazine.

Speaking about the early stages of her career, Vardalos revealed that when she moved to Los Angeles, the first agent she approached to find work in Hollywood completely rejected her for three reasons. Which were, literally: “1. Because you're not pretty enough to be the star. 2. Because you're not fat enough to be a character artist. But mainly 3. because you are Greek. So, you don't belong to one of the big minorities like Puerto Ricans, Hispanics, etc. Therefore, you are fired."

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How "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was born

Infuriated by the multiple discrimination and exclusion she suffered, Nia Vardalos - after, as she said with a laugh, "I bombarded the manager with whatever swear words and curses came to mind as I drove to her office in Los Angeles."

She decided to turned her supposed handicap into a weapon and recorded all the peculiarities of her Greek family, all the traits that would seem foreign to American and international audiences. And this is how the script of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was born, in its first form as a theatre production.

Vardalos went it alone, daring something that would possibly ruin her: She rented a theatre and staged the play at her own expense. Fortunately for her, the idea of ​​"My Big Fat Greek Wedding" excited Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, who encouraged her to adapt it for the cinema.

And the sequel belongs to history, the incredibly successful story of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

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In fact, for the shooting of the third sequel, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" came again to Greece, where, as Nia Vardalos pointed out, it received substantial support from the Greek government.

"Without the help we got from the Greek state, maybe we wouldn't have been able to complete the production of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3," said Vardalos.

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Galatea Laskarakis and Nia Vardalos via Proto Thema.

The trailer for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is out and it certainly makes us excited to see the entire film! The trailer starts with Toula Portokalos, played by Nia Vardalos, returning to Greece after her father's death.

See the trailer:

Toula explains in a voiceover that "a lot has happened" since her big fat Greek wedding to her hubby, Ian Miller (John Corbett.)

"My father passed away and his last wish was for us to visit his childhood village and reconnect with our roots," says Toula. "So we're having a reunion."

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"And by 'we,' I mean, the whole family," she adds as viewers see Toula's lively Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin) offering fellow airplane passengers treats from a box of homemade souvlaki she brought aboard the flight.

The trailer reveals that Toula is on a mission to find her late dad's best friends, but first she'll have to endure the surprise of bunking under one roof with her many rowdy family members.

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Breathtaking images of Greece — filled with ancient seaside homes and bustling street markets — make for a gorgeous backdrop. In one scene, the family engaged in street dancing with locals while Aunt Voula grills Toula's daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), about her connection to a boy named Aristotle (Elias Kacavas).

Near the trailer's end, we see Toula and Ian sharing tender moments amid the chaos, reminding viewers that all these big fat Greek laughs began more than 20 years ago when the unlikely pair fell for one another.

The original “Big Fat Greek Wedding” premiered in 2002 and became the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, earning a total of $368 million worldwide over the course of nearly one calendar year of play at the box office.

The veritable phenomenon was followed by Vardalos earning an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.

The first film was based on Vardalos’ one-woman play, which she then starred and developed into the rom-com classic. Fotoula “Toula” Portokalos (Vardalos), a young Greek-American woman falls in love with non-Greek Ian Miller (John Corbett), with adamant objection from her big Greek family.

Despite everything, Toula decides to marry him. As Toula and Ian navigate planning their wedding, the two hilariously, and slowly, convince the Portokalos clan to accept Ian and their impending nuptials.

More than a decade later in 2016, Vardalos released the sequel film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” which followed as Toula learns her parents, Gus (Constantine) and Maria (Kazan), are not actually married — learning that the priest never signed the couple’s marriage certificate 50 years prior.

This leads the Portokalos family to plan another wedding, but this time in Greece and with the help of Toula and Ian’s teenage daughter, Paris (Kampouris).

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Gary Goetzman have returned to produce the third film, alongside returning executive producers Paul Brooks, Scott Niemeyer and Steven Shareshian.

READ MORE: Maria Menounos: "Every day gets better and better."