‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s’ Nia Vardalos: ‘Women Have to Write for Each Other’

Nia Vardalos My Big Fat Greek
Steven Taylor for Variety

Writer-actress Nia Vardalos charmed audiences in 2002 with surprise hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and now she’s back with older and wiser life lessons in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” due out from Universal on March 25. In the new film, she tackles issues concerning her large and eccentric Greek family that also touch her fans: mothering a teenager, finding time for one’s spouse, and dealing with aging parents.

You are tuned into what your fans are dealing with now, 14 years later.

Women are so many things. We’re sisters, mothers, wives. There are so many things we encompass. I wanted to write a movie for us too.

There are a lot of strong women in the film.

The dearth of female roles is disgusting. Instead of whining about it, I wrote the female roles with a lot of strength and depth — and knowing that Andrea Martin and Lainie Kazan could hit it out of the park. Women have to write for each other; we have to hire each other.

Do you see change ahead?

My [young] daughter walked out of “The Boxtrolls” and told the manager it was because there weren’t enough female characters in it. We got our money back and spent it on candy. There’s a whole generation coming up that will demand change.

Michael Constantine, who’s 88, is a real treat in the sequel.

John Corbett called me before we started shooting and asked, “How are Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan doing?” We got on set, and they were partying. John’s like, “I think we have to worry about ourselves.”

The movie feels like revisiting family.

Someone said to me that watching the trailer was like getting a warm hug from your family. I wish I had said that.

What’s next?

I am doing a series for Epix next year, “Graves,” in which I get to play a well-written role, written by a man.

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  1. Lisa says:

    I am a female writer and producer and I remember pitching an idea to another female producer, she suggested that I write a strong male main character. I was shocked. I told her no, females can be strong main characters. However, what I learned from it was many women in the industry are scared. They don’t want to piss off men. To me that’s selfish and catty. I’ve seen women throw other women under the bus out of fear. I am always wary of females surrounded by males, she won’t have any creative freedom whatsoever, as the males around her will be quietly ‘guiding’ her to a more male focused end and she won’t even notice or will be too afraid to say anything. We don’t need men to legitimize our work. Next time you think a man’s opinion is more important than a woman’s, question his motives. You’ll see that he really does not want women to have a say. As well, he might be implementing the ‘divide and conquer’ plan using scarcity and fear to do that in and amongst your group of women. The only way women will make progress in this industry is to stick together and know when men are playing games. Usually that involves belittling and insulting us, comparing us to other women, getting insecure and jealous females to sabotage or stall our work in passive-aggressive ways (ei. the female producer mentioned above), telling us ‘it’s been done’, and a big one is excluding us from important meetings and correspondence.

  2. John Miller says:

    It’s a great idea to write for women, and to give them good parts to play. But, is the best way to do that writing a sequel that only so many people have been waiting for?

    • Lisa says:

      “Only so many people’? 52% of the population are women. I’m pretty sure there are more than ‘only so many’ waiting for the sequel.

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