Today, sleeper hit
My Big Fat Greek Hymeneals
(2002) turns the large 2-0. That’s correct: it’s been two decades since the niggling-indie-rom-com-that-could shattered box office records, nabbed an Oscar nomination and taught us that, yeah, there
a Greek root for every give-and-take in the English language language — well, if y’all effort as difficult as Toula’s father does.
In celebration of the 20-yr anniversary of
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, we’re revisiting Nia Vardalos’ breakout role (and script!) to sympathize just how it became the highest-grossing rom-com in film history. Then, slice a slice of Bundt cake — y’all know, the cake with a hole in it — and join united states of america for this stroll down memory lane.
My Big Fat Greek Hymeneals, Epitomizeped
If you lot’ve somehow never seen
My Large Fat Greek Wedding ceremony
— or y’all oasis’t watched it plenty to quote its nigh memorable exchanges and jokes — we’ll give you a quick recap. Nia Vardalos stars as Fotoula “Toula” Portokalos, merely she’s also the screenwriter behind the film. Using her own Greek family unit and comic experiences every bit inspiration, Vardalos penned a script near 30-year-old Toula’s search for love — and, more importantly, a life of her ain.
Toula’southward family is rather… invasive. Everyone is constantly in each other’s business concern. Everyone is loud. And, as Toula explains, her family unit is big — “just 27 start cousins alone!” large. Perhaps her biggest obstruction is her begetter, Kostas “Gus” Portokalos (Michael Constantine); not only does Gus believe Toula is getting quondam, but he also forbids her from marrying anyone who isn’t Greek.
After all, every discussion in the English language tin trace its roots back to Greek,
the Greeks invented pottery, amidst dozens of other things. Luckily for Toula, her mom, Maria (Lainie Kazan), just wants her to be happy, fifty-fifty if that ways existence a trivial non-traditional. As Maria puts it, Gus may be the caput of the family unit, simply she’southward the neck — and she tin can turn the head whichever way she wants.
Eager to break out of her shell, and the job she has as a seating hostess at her family unit’southward diner, Toula signs upwardly for computer classes with her mom’s help. When she lands a job at her Aunt Voula’s (Andrea Martin) travel agency, Toula bumps into an attractive instructor, Ian Miller (John Corbett). Of course, Toula has met Ian before, while waiting on him in her family’s restaurant — back when she was a self-described “Frump Girl”. Actually, Toula was lacking in cocky-conviction. As Ian puts it, he doesn’t remember a frumpy person, but he
For Toula and Ian, it’s pretty much love at first sight. (Or, technically, 2nd sight.) The just problem? Gus. After all, Ian’southward family unit is Protestant, non Greek Orthodox, which means Toula can’t marry him in the Greek church building. And, on top of that, Ian is a vegetarian — non great news for a family who roasts lamb on their front lawn.
Only Toula stands business firm; she’s going to ally Ian, fifty-fifty if that means getting him Greek-baptized in a kiddie pool. We won’t spoil every piddling particular, only allow’s only say the clash between the uptight Millers and the boisterous Portokalos clan causes quite a bit of hilarity to ensue. The bottom line? The pic was an instant classic upon its release. If you’re looking for a feel-good rom-com that never gets one-time, you can count on
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
to brand y’all laugh every time.
Later honing her one-act chops at the famed 2d City, Nia Vardalos came to realize that at that place were very few roles about explicitly Greek people in Hollywood. Somewhen, she decided to write a script that would capture her lived feel — and the experience of so many Greek Canadian and Greek American folks.
In an early on interview with Robin Rea, Vardalos revealed that she chosen her friends to ask them which stories about her family were the funniest. “I shoved all of the stories together and hooked them around my wedding, which had happened the year before,” Vardalos explained. “And I had a [story].”
But, initially, Vardalos encountered agents and managers who not but told her the would-be-Oscar-nominated script wasn’t skilful, simply that actors shouldn’t write. When life gives y’all oranges (and apples), yous notice a style to make the best of it. Surprised by the acrimony she encountered, Vardalos took a different arroyo and inverse her fabric into a solo stage evidence.
Reflecting on this experience ii decades later, Vardalos tweeted about the motion picture’s origins, her post-My Big Fat Greek Wedding ceremony
successes and her efforts to help others share their stories. “Some people who don’t create annihilation[,] including jobs to brand situations better, will tell you that what you do is wrong,” she wrote. “You can’t make anyone embrace change, marginalized voices or new ideas. So honey yourself. And write your story.”
So, What’s the Rita Wilson (and Tom Hanks) Connection?
For Vardalos, that very decision and insight paid off over 20 years ago, too. Once the solo show was fix to get, she sent out flyers to every Greek church in Southern California to get the word out. And the marketing play worked wonders. 1 of her audience members ended up being swain Greek thespian Rita Wilson.
Non merely did Wilson end up loving Vardalos’ show, but Wilson went backstage afterwards to tell Vardalos the whole affair would make a killer screenplay and motion picture. And, every bit it would plow out, Wilson wasn’t the only i who thought then afterward seeing the solo show. Vardalos had already gotten a call from a production visitor affiliated with Disney, which was eager to buy the show’s picture show rights. But there was a grab.
Rather than allow Vardalos to star in the movie adaptation, the production company wanted to replace her with Marisa Tomei. Eager to pursue authenticity, Vardalos bowed out of the deal. The silverish lining, of course, was that Wilson concluded up convincing her husband, Tom Hanks, to see the 1-adult female show.
Completely taken in by what he saw, Hanks called Vardalos to limited his interest in producing a film adaptation. At first, Vardalos assumed it was a prank phone call and hung upward on Hanks. Once Hanks convinced her that he was, in fact, the real bargain, he and Wilson helped Vardalos secure the motion picture’southward $5 million upkeep.
And Only Like That… John Corbett Was Bandage
Based on Vardalos’ existent-life husband at the time, Ian Gomez, Ian Miller would prove tricky to cast — at least at first. While Vardalos always wanted
Sex activity and the City’due south John Corbett to play the role, he wasn’t able to even nourish the audition because he was working on
(2001) at the time.
But as, ahem, serendipity would have information technology, Vardalos and her producer overheard Corbett talking about the script in a bar in Toronto. It was obvious he had loved it, then Vardalos and her producer went over and struck upward a chat. In the terminate, they ended up offer him the function on the spot.
As for Vardalos’ then-husband, he ended up playing Ian’southward best friend, Mike, in the film. And, yep: IRL, Gomez did concord to exist baptized in society to win over Vardalos’ Greek Orthodox family.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding ceremony‘s Mega Success
While information technology may sound like a huge corporeality of money to most of us, $5 million is really a relatively small upkeep for a feature film. But
My Large Fat Greek Hymeneals
ended up being quite the indie darling — and pulled in a next-level return on investment.
By the time all was said and washed, the motion picture grossed $368.7 million, which fabricated information technology (and however makes it) the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Given its small-scale budget and huge returns, the picture actually ranks as the second-most profitable movie of all time, merely later
(2007). While it opened in just 108 theaters initially, past the end of its 88-week run
My Big Fatty Greek Wedding
wound up playing in over 2,000 cinemas. Not to mention, Vardalos earned an Oscar nomination for her sharp writing.
Where to Spotter
My Big Fatty Greek Wedding
While there’s never a wrong time to rewatch
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, there’south no
time than its 20th anniversary. And then, where do yous tune in? Like most beloved movies, it tends to travel around to various streaming services. At the moment, it’southward available on HBO Max, or hire it on Google Play, Amazon, or Vudu.
Tin’t go enough of Vardalos and her hilarious cast?
My Big Fat Greek Nuptials 2
(2016) follows Toula and Ian equally they explore the challenges of spousal relationship and parenthood. And things become even more interesting when a family secret comes to calorie-free, bringing the whole association together again for an even bigger wedding than before. Recently, Vardalos also revealed that
My Big Fatty Greek Nuptials 3
is in the works.