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Feature: TV Zone's Primetime

Web Exclusive:
My Big Fat Greek Life

Andrea Martin, Louis Mandylor, Gia Carides, Lainie Kazan, Steven Eckholdt, Nia Vardalos and Michael Constantine

The highest grossing independent motion picture in history is coming to CBS…
as a sitcom.

Based on her extraordinarily successful movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nia Vardalos has reworked her old-fashioned Greek family into a new format. Now as Nia Portokalos, she is a newly married, modern woman caught in a traditional world, who is mortified by her family’s over-the-top ways. Portraying her husband is Steven Eckholdt, (her movie spouse, John Corbett, is starring in his own series Mr Lucky on the F/X Channel). “We are taking precautions to not make Steven step into another man’s role,” says Vardalos. “We’ve renamed the character, and changed it slightly. It’s going to be Nia and Thomas against the work. And we’re hipping up the show a little bit. In the movie we have an Old World feel, and in the TV show it’s going to be a little more accessible to a modern-day, 2003 audience.”

In a feat of casting dexterity, producer Rita Wilson who, along with her husband, Tom Hanks, produced the movie, managed to reassemble the rest of the cast for the TV series, as she acknowledges, “When the movie came out and it was the success that it was, we thought, ‘Could it be possible? Could we do this? Could we get the movie cast together for the series?’ And, in fact, we could.”

Unlike many sitcoms on the air, Vardalos plans to attempt “something different. We’re going to try and not go for jokes. We’re going to try and go for character interaction humor. Some of us are stage actors, so we’re going to enjoy the live performance aspect of having an audience there. And hopefully we won’t even have to sweeten it with a laugh track, because the writing will be funny because you know these characters. In the movie it was about a wedding and a romance, and I could only touch on the ‘B’ stories. But in the TV show, everyone’s going to have fun story lines, because we have more time in a series - maybe five to seven years!”

by Judy Sloane

Photo © CBS
Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

Taken from
TV Zone #159, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #159
February 2003
ships from Jan 9 2003
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