Nia Vardalos is gearing up to release “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” in theaters, but helming and starring in a beloved rom-com trilogy was probably not something her first Hollywood agent thought was possible for her. In an interview with MovieMaker magazine (conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike), Vardalos revealed her first agent told her she was too ugly to be a leading lady in Hollywood. This was before she became an industry breakout with the success of 2002’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
“Sometimes I’m depicted as this very strong person who was rejected by Hollywood and therefore created my own story,” Vardalos said. “The reality is that it hurt to be told that my ethnicity and my looks were the problem. I never had my looks categorized as being detrimental to my career. So, anyway, f- her, because look how it turned out.”
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“My agent told me I wasn’t pretty enough to be a leading lady and not fat enough to be a character actor,” she continued, noting that she quickly discovered such industry cruelty was not unique to her. “People were not even shocked. They would say, ‘Oh yeah, my agent told me the same thing.’ I realized that story and that negativity was going to drag me down. I had to turn the experiences into something, so I borrowed a friend’s computer and wrote the screenplay for ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.'”
The upcoming third “Greek Wedding” movie is notable for featuring Vardalos’ return to the director’s chair. She always wrote and starred in the series, but this is the first film in the franchise that she has directed. Vardalos’ last directorial effort was 2009’s “I Hate Valentine’s Day,” which flopped at the box office.
“On the second film, our producer Gary Goetzman said the difference between director Kirk Jones and me is Kirk thinks he can do it,” Vardalos said. “That really struck me as the reason that I was not directing. That and John Corbett said he wouldn’t do the third movie unless I directed it.”
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” opens in theaters nationwide Sept. 8 from Focus Features.
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