Read in the list below 20 fun facts you probably didn’t know about the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”!
1. Nia Vardalos’s real-life husband, Ian Gomez, plays Ian’s best friend, Mike.
2. Nia Vardalos wrote it because she couldn’t land any other roles. Nia Vardalos was a struggling actor living in LA before she wrote the one-woman play that she eventually turned into the film. She had difficulty landing roles because she didn’t fit any specific Hollywood archetype. As she said in an interview, “I wasn’t ethnic enough, not white enough, not fat enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough”.
3. Tom Hanks produced the film with his company, Playtone Pictures. Apparently, Tom Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, saw the play on which the film was based and told her husband that she thought it should be turned into a movie. When Hanks contacted Vardalos about the idea, Vardalos hung up on him because she thought someone was playing a prank on her.
4. The scene where Andrea Martin playfully grabs John Corbett’s hair was ad-libbed; Martin had forgotten her lines, played with Corbett’s hair (to which Corbett stayed in character and played along), remembered her lines and continued. Nia Vardalos said that it worked out so well they decided to print the take and use it.
5. The cast and crew never had to pay for catering. The small indie film saved a ton of money by not having to pay for catering while shooting. This is is because wherever they were shooting, local Greek restaurants would send over free food.
6. When Andrea Martin’s character learns that John Corbett’s character is a vegetarian, she gets a bewildered look and replies, “That’s okay. I make lamb.” Nia Vardalos said this reflects the confusion that many Greeks have toward vegetarianism. During World War II, food was scarce, so Greeks subsisted on anything available. To them, it makes little sense not to eat meat.
7. Everyone on the bride’s side during the wedding scene is part of Nia Vardalos’ actual family This is a prime case of art imitating life. Nia had her whole family act as, well, her whole family for the eponymous wedding scene. When you’re making an indie film, you have to save money wherever you can and not having to pay for extras certainly helped the film come in at a lean $6 million. Also, it’s a nice touch to be able to share such a moment with your real-life loved ones.
8. Though it is set in Chicago, it was filmed mostly in Toronto In the film, Nia’s character Toula lives and works in what is meant to be Chicago. However, much of the film was shot in Toronto. In fact, multiple scenes were shot at Vardalos’ alma mater, Ryerson University, which is located in Toronto. The film itself is said to be based on life in the Greek community of Winnipeg, Canada.
9. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is the second most profitable film of all time. Although the film only had a $6 million budget, it ended up doing big business and pulled in $369 million worldwide. The movie made 61 times its budget in profit and, for that reason, is considered the second most profitable film ever. The most profitable film of all time is “Paranormal Activity,” which raked in a staggering 12,890 times its budget.
10. It is the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. After making $241 million domestically, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” became the highest-grossing rom-com ever. It unseated the Mel Gibson flick, “What Women Want,” which grossed over $180 million in the US. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is also the highest-grossing film never to be number one at the box office for any given weekend.
11. “Zorba” is a boy’s name, and means “Live each day” in Greek.
12. Nia Vardalos is a Ryerson University graduate. The university was used for several scenes in the film. Kerr Hall is the school where Ian Miller teaches. The Rogers Communications building plays Harry S. Truman College.
13. When Toula walks to the front porch of her house in her blue night gown, in the background you can see the Greek god of love.
14. When Ian is being baptised Greek Orthodox, he is given the Greek name of Ioannis. Ioannis in English translates to John, which is also the actor’s real name. Ian is the Scottish Gaelic variation of the Hebrew name John.
15. The opening scene where Nia Vardalos and Michael Constantine travel in the early morning to open the restaurant was one of the very last scenes filmed. Vardalos said that all of the other cast members had finished their scenes and had left, and so the sadness she and Constantine displayed in that car scene reflected the tearful goodbyes they’d said.
16. At the wedding reception, no one was doing the dance correctly. The cast was too tired.
17. Toula is seen at work booking a trip for “Doreen Christakos.” That is the name of Nia Vardalos’ mother.
18. In the movie poster, the two E’s in the word “Greek” are made to look like the Greek letter Sigma, which is S, not E. To a Greek, it reads “My Big Fat Grssk Wedding”.
19. At the 75th Academy Awards, it was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
20. A sequel titled “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” is currently in-production set for March 25, 2016 release.