My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the year's sleeper hit, a throwback romantic comedy whose old-fashioned themes of love and marriage are striking a nerve with women everywhere.Based on Nia Vardalos's one-person play, the film (see review, page 69) stars Vardalos as the frumpy Toula, who works at her family's Greek restaurant. Realizing life is passing her by, she gives herself a make-over, goes to night school and falls in love with the WASPy Ian (John Corbett), much to the horror of her extended family.
"I am old-fashioned," says Vardalos. She and Corbett breezed into town to promote the film, which has already grossed a surprising $40 million. "I'm a nice Greek girl -- I like to cook -- but call me "dear' and I'll punch you in the face. Old-fashioned does not equal passive. In the Old World it did, but not any more."
Vardalos, a native of Winnipeg, moved to Toronto to study at Ryerson. After graduating, she hooked up with T.O.'s Second City troupe, and eventually moved to Chicago to work at the famed Second City stage there.
During our interview at the Four Seasons, we're joined by her co-star, John Corbett, who first made waves as Chris on TV's Northern Exposure and most recently as Sarah Jessica Parker's love interest on Sex And The City.
While Vardalos comes across as enthusiastic and perky, Corbett is a laid-back, entertaining hippie dude, not at all like the earnest, sweet-natured leading men he's played lately.
I ask him if he ever wants to play a villain and break free of his image. "I'm not one of those actors who feels I need to play something different to show you how good I am," says Corbett. "I don't give a fuck about you -- you being the people who watch me. I don't do it for you. This is what I do to express myself."
"That's because you're a man's man," interjects Vardalos.
"Thanks, baby. Look, those actors who have to do that have something to prove to someone. Daddy didn't hug them enough. They'll never get that by acting. Bobby De Niro, sorry, dude, you're a great actor, but you'll never find the love you're lacking by acting."firstname.lastname@example.org
my big fat greek wedding directed by Joel Zwick, written by Nia Vardalos, based on her one-person stage play, produced by Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Gary Goetzman, with Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan. 94 minutes. Opens Friday (August 16). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 69. Rating: NNN