As you can imagine, Nia Vardalos is always up for talking about her screw-ups.
“I live for loser stories,” the actress and screenwriter tells us while promoting her new film, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” the sequel to her 2002 surprise monster hit. “When the first movie came out and all the craziness that came with it, I saw an ex-boyfriend, who had treated me badly. I’m not a vindictive person. I just want everyone to go on and have a happy life. But this dude was mean to me. So I saw him in the street and he says, ‘What’s going on, sunshine?” I thought, ‘I’m finally having a moment where I can say I have a movie coming out.’ I look back at him and a bird sh—t on my head.”
Vardalos has plenty of stories like that. She recently walked through London airport with two buttons undone. She was on carpool duty for her daughter when she realized the dress she threw on at the last second was inside out. She even reveals her tell when she’s lying: “My neck grows,” she says, laughing. “I play poker with my friends and they take all my money. When I try to hide that I have a good hand, my neck grows.”
Pain, she says, is funny. That’s one reason she didn’t want to sugarcoat “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” The sequel catches up with the same characters (and cast). Everyone’s older, including Vardalos’ Toula and her husband Ian, played again by John Corbett. Vardalos, now 53, who again wrote the script, wanted to milk getting older and being a parent of a college-bound teen (played by Elena Kampouris) for laughs.
“I just wanted people to play their ages, including John and me,” Vardalos explains. “That’s why I resisted the temptation to write us as 32. I thought it would be a little respectful of the audience who grew up with the film, to see themselves reflected on screen, again.”