NEW YORK – It took almost 14 years after their surprise blockbuster hit but the cast of My Big Fat Greek Wedding got together for the Premiere of the sequel in Manhattan on March 15, setting off a Greek buzz and bringing back the extended Portokalos-Miller family for the gala event.
“The premier was amazing…it was a great night. A lot of Nia’s family were there…her parents and her sister… and all the celebrities were there,” including Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, John Corbett and his longtime girlfriend Bo Derek, said attorney Nick Katsoris.
He is the creator of the Loukoumi children’s book series that encourages youngsters to help one another and those in need and Vardalos narrated the one titled Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully with Morgan Freeman. “Our 7-year-old daughter Julia has a crush on John and he was so gracious – he took a picture with her and she was just thrilled,” Katsoris said.
Vardalos, 53, who turned her one-woman play into the gigantic success, reprises her role as Toula Portokalos, who in the first film fell in love with Ian Miller, a character played by John Corbett, who was with her at the opening event to pick up where they left off – living in a house her character’s father bought for them right next to his.
The film officially opens March 25 at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and before it did the cast and other notables got together to kick it off including its producers Hanks and his wife Wilson, who has roots in Northern Epiros.
She also appeared in the sequel to the original which mirrored her story with Hanks who converted to Greek Orthodoxy, as did Vardalos’ husband, and Corbett’s character in the movie.
Joining the cast for Wedding 2 is former TV star and fellow Greek John Stamos. Wilson, who has created a couple of record albums and taken on a singing career as well, performs a song in the closing credits called Even More Mine.
Hanks, who cut his chops in TV comedy, said he was confident the formula would keep working for the Greek team.“I don’t think (romantic comedies) work unless they accurately reflect behavior that people recognize,” he told Variety.
Vardalos said she wanted to keep the message simple and something the audience could find universal yet appeal to them too. “No matter what generation you are, no one’s going to give you what you want unless you ask for it — unless you say ‘This is what I want out of life,” she told the Trade magazine.
She added that the message was inspired by her daughter. “When I wanted to be a mom, and it wasn’t happening for me, I reached out and I found out about American foster care, and that’s the reason that I even wrote this script.”
Once the script was written, getting the family back together wasn’t that hard, said Corbett. He said all it took was “one phone call from Nia on my birthday two years ago” to convince him to return.
Other castmembers at the premiere included Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Louis Mandylor, and Andrea Martin, as well as newcomers Elena Kampouris (Vardalos’ and Corbett’s characters’ daughter in the film) and Alex Wolff (who mingled alongside his brother Nat at the afterparty).
Following the screening, the party moved a few blocks away to the Parkview Lounge where guests posed at a photo booth sponsored by Windex, the product Constantine’s character uses to cure all ills.
RAVES HAVE BEGUN
“The film was very well received. It was story driven, funny and heartwarming. You leave there just believing in the power of family – and that’s really what it’s all about, how important family is in your life, how important our Greek roots are,” Katsoris said.
“Gus and Maria Portokalis” – Vardalos’ parents in the movie – “came to this country and made a life and a family just like so many people all across the country. I think the Greek-Community really bonded over the first film and the messages in the new one will resonate with them again and it’s going to be a huge success” he added – a Big Fat Greek sequel.
Katsoris rented out the same theater were the premier took place for a special screening on March 23.
“We got an incredible response and sold out of all 800 seats in a day and a half. I got a second theater and I sold out of that” and Vardalos will be there to address the audience.