Nia Vardalos Stars in a New Movie—One That Her Daughter Loves

The "Big Fat Greek Wedding" stars shares why she's returning to the small screen in the new American Girl movie “McKenna Shoots for the Stars,”available on DVD July 3 and airing on NBC July 14. Plus, she dishes on hottie costar John Corbett and a sexy pact they made. Read the edited version of our interview with her below

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
nia vardalos image
Photograph: Gene Reed

More: We here at More are all about reinvention. Have you ever reinvented yourself?
Nia Vardalos: My whole career is because I have had to reinvent myself. Years ago, I could not get a job if you paid me. This agent I was once working with said, “You are not fat enough to be a character actress, and you’re not pretty enough to be a leading lady. Plus, there are no Greek roles. So I can no longer represent you.”

More: Ouch!
NV: I know. I was like, don’t hold anything back. Speak your mind. Then she dropped me.

More: What did you do?
NV: I drove home and thought if being Greek was the problem, I am going to make it the solution. I immediately started writing by taking all of the stories I tell at parties and putting them all on a list. From there I said, I am going to write a Greek movie, cast them with Greek characters, and I will play a bridesmaid. I had no idea how hard it was to get a movie made, get it into the right hands and looked at by the right people.

More: Did you network?
NV: I didn’t tell anyone because Hollywood is full of a lot of naysayers and negative people. Matter of fact, no one wanted to read it.

More: So how did you reinvent yourself?
NV: I jumped up onstage and turned it into a one-woman show. I was hoping to get an agent out of it. Instead, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks came to the show and decided to make it into a movie.

More: Speaking of movies, have you ever given any thought to a sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding?
NV: John and I just started talking about it. I wasn’t open to it until recently. I think the time is right to find out how Toula and Ian are doing.

More: You get to kiss your costar, John Corbett, again. Not fair!
NV: He is such a beautiful man and a pleasure to work with. I mean, he is such a gentleman. I will tell you something, even though my mother will kill me.

More: I am all ears.
NV: We made a pact. We have such beautiful chemistry together, probably because we have never done it. So our pact is when we are 80 years old, we are gonna do it! How is that for a hot topic?

More: Have you ever shown your daughter My Big Fat Greek Wedding?
NV: No. I asked her if she wanted to watch it, and she said, “No. It is probably boring.”

More: She must love that you’re starring in the new American Girl movie, McKenna Shoots for the Stars.
NV: When I told her I was playing the mom in the McKenna movie, she threw her arms around me and screamed, “That is my favorite.”

More: She’s a big American Girl fan?
NV: Oh, yes. One of the first things we did after she arrived was take her to the American Girl store and had her choose a doll that she felt looked like her. Ian and I wanted to help her with her identity as well as understand her family and country. I could have shown her My Big Fat Greek Wedding, because she will see her real-life grandma and grandpa play wedding guests, but I thought this would be more memorable and special.

More: Did taking her shopping at the store help her understand the adoption process?
NV: I think what helped her understand her identity was good advice from the social workers. They always said, “Don’t treat her like she was adopted.” They also said, “Don’t say, ‘your new life,’ ” which we never would. Our little shopping spree was just fun and frivolous.

More: What was her reaction?
NV: It was interesting to watch her take in the environment and really study each doll until she found one she connected with. It was really important for us to give her that. Now that I play a mom for the company, I feel like I have come full circle.

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