Hi, Reddit! I’m actress and writer Nia Vardalos from the movies My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Connie and Carla, I Hate Valentine’s Day, and My Life in Ruins.

Shameless Plugs:
* I wrote an upcoming book called Instant Mom (on sale April 2), about how my husband and I struggled to become parents, and then social workers and American Foster Care came to our rescue. More about the book HERE.
* I tweet HERE.
* I post HERE.

I’m excited to answer your questions (at 2 PM ET), so please: Ask me anything!

Proof: http://i.imgur.com/DPAgXJU.jpg

Edit: I have to go, but will log back in later at 5 PM PT (8 PM ET) to answer any questions I missed and any new questions too. Let me know any topic you want to talk about. Thanks!

Edit #2: Thanks, everyone! That was fun!

Comments: 491 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

Illinois_smith179 karma

I always wondered how Joey Fatone from Nsync got in the movie. I loved his part, but still wonder.

NiaVardalos218 karma

Joey auditioned for the part and said although it was small, he was trying to break into acting and would be happy to be a part of the film. We were touched by his sincerity and felt he was hairy enough for the role.

DiminutoPene154 karma

Can we get a sequel to my big fat Greek wedding please and thanks?

NiaVardalos213 karma


classactdynamo89 karma

Four Fat Greek Weddings and a Greek Funeral*


NiaVardalos113 karma

Your trademarked thing just made me spit iced tea.

NiaVardalos120 karma

For those of you who know Reddit, give me some advice - what would you like me to talk about?

McNippleson173 karma


NiaVardalos358 karma

OMG, even I got this reference. No way.

TheGreenShepherd64 karma

Guys...guys...guys, she's one of us.

NiaVardalos67 karma

Thank you GreenShepherd, I like the clubhouse.

snowangel223118 karma

I love My Big Fat Greek Wedding! I was just craving to watch it recently! I heard through the grape vine that the film was shot down several times because no one was interested in having you play Fotoula based on your looks. Personally I think you are beautiful and no one else could have done the film justice. Could you elaborate on this experience? Is it even true?

NiaVardalos301 karma

No one wanted me in the lead role because I was not a known actor. But before that I'd had several industry people tell me I was not attractive. I've seen two of them recently and I don't want to gloat but...they haven't aged well.

j1gette103 karma

You most certainly have. Looking great!

NiaVardalos187 karma

Thank you, I was fishing.

mvardalos101 karma

Hi Sister!

NiaVardalos92 karma

omg, hi Munty!!

mvardalos68 karma

This is so exciting!

NiaVardalos114 karma

I don't know how this works. I think I'm replying, can everyone see the stuff I'm submitting?

Possum_Pendulum63 karma

This is adorable. Haha.

EDIT: To add in a question; How often do you use Windex at home for treatment of various ailments?

NiaVardalos67 karma

We buy windex by the case.

jPHILLY9097 karma

First and foremost, I loved your movie, it was hilarious. I still quote "Hey Ian, we're gonna kill ya" to all of my friends and it even made me ask my Greek friend Georgia about her awesome family stories. How was it shooting the movie, were there any awkward/funny moments that stood out to you because of the huge cast? I felt like everyone had great personalities and were very fun to work with. Also, how close is the movie, if at all, to your real life? Put some windex on it!

NiaVardalos120 karma

My family is a lot like the family in the movie but like all Vardaloses, I dialed it up to 11. Our cousins Toula says, there are only 3 Vardalos stories, but we tell them over and over again. (yes her name is Toula)

martlet184 karma


NiaVardalos153 karma

Many ethnicities do this, Italians, Persians, Greeks we all think we invented society. Anyway, my dad used to say that about many words, and still does.

hugpusher75 karma

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of my favorite rom coms because the family portrayed reminds me so much of my own family. How many members of the Portokalos family were heavily inspired by members of your own family?

NiaVardalos115 karma

All. Can I get sued on here?

hugpusher31 karma

Thanks for the response! I am actually a budding intellectual property attorney, so I can try and give you the short (highly generalized) answer: Depending on the state, you can technically get sued for depicting someone too closely in a fictional work if the person is easily recognizable and you there is false and/or disparaging stuff written about the person. That said, the chances of any such plaintiffs suing you and actually winning are pretty slim.

NiaVardalos62 karma

Good to know. So would you mind if I wrote a character named HugPusher?

thadiuscrain66 karma

I am curious as to roughly how much the movie cost?I heard it was the number one gross income indie film, is this true?

NiaVardalos328 karma

It cost 5 million to make and is the number one romantic comedy of all time, indie and studio. Ow, I hurt my arm from back-patting.

Nias_twin_friend60 karma

Hi Nia, my friend told me she's your twin but I don't believe her, can you confirm? http://imgur.com/YyrrkJY ? Can I get an autographed photo confirming that she's in fact your twin?

NiaVardalos81 karma

She is my pretty twin. Yes to a photo, tweet me later?

Nias_twin_friend33 karma

Wow thanks that's awesome I can't wait! Her name is Wendy, it would be cool "to my twin Wendy" Ok I can tweet later or PM here or Reddit?

NiaVardalos43 karma

Tweet me later.

orcrist74758 karma

HI! Just want to say thanks for that movie. My mum, wife, and all the other women in my family loved it (I did too). We are Indian and the parallels are amazing.

NiaVardalos79 karma

And I am eating curried kale chips right now. C'mon, that's crazy! (and thank you for saying that, it is the highest compliment to know the film transcends cultures.)

mawmy57 karma

Is your daughter baptized Greek Orthodox? Are you going to make her go to Greek school?

NiaVardalos81 karma

Yes and yes.

NiaVardalos57 karma

Okay everybody, I have to go now, I will log back in later at 5 pm and will answer any questions I missed and any new questions too. Let me know any topic you want to talk about. Thanks!

NiaVardalos56 karma

OK everybody, I'm back on line. If you're so inclined, please continue to UP vote so we can get this chat climbing. If you want to vote down, go make a sandwich, watch TV, make out with a stranger, just leave our chat alone. VOTE UP!

SirRogerKlotz49 karma

Larry David is a genius, right?

NiaVardalos105 karma

Yes. And a good kisser.

SirRogerKlotz45 karma

Did David Duchovney ever try to sex you on the set of Connie and Carla?

NiaVardalos160 karma

"Sex" me? Like sexing a chicken? If you mean that, then yes.

sunsethoughts44 karma

I love all your movies and I love! I hate valentines day lol (you and john corbett have good film chemistry) I recently read an article about how you got your little girl through adoption. Can you explain a little more about the process? and was it tough at first to bond with her?

NiaVardalos71 karma

Hi, this is my first question! Ok, yes, it was tough to bond with our daughter and I tell the truth in the book. She was almost three years old and could pack a mean punch.

DJFunktipus37 karma

How did the windex thing come intothe movie? Can it really cure any afflictions?

NiaVardalos99 karma

My dad actually used it to cure a wart.

camaharet30 karma

After watching MBFGW with my family, I learned that my papou (Gus...heh) also used to spray Windex on all ailments. They must know something we don't.

NiaVardalos50 karma

it works. (and no, I don't work for SC Johnson.)

CAN_ZIGZAG35 karma

Ever thought of bringing My Big Fat Greek Wedding to Broadway?... and getting it made into a musical?

NiaVardalos35 karma

We keep getting offers to do it and it's very nice, but I keep thinking My Life In Ruins would be a better musical.

hooshtin30 karma

Im sure more than just a couple of 27 year old males, like myself, will agree that if they are channel surfing on a lazy sunday, and come across MBFGW, he will probably watch the rest of the film and love every second of it.

What are some of your guilty pleasures? Film, food, etc.

Thanks Ms Vardalos.

NiaVardalos48 karma

Thank you for saying that. I remember a moment is a mall - a giant football playing type due whispered that MBFGW was his favorite movie. And he teared up. It was so cool, I wanted to tell everyone around me but was afraid of his biceps. Anyway, I like to indulge in TV like Project Runway and Top Chef, I love cooking new recipes and throwing giant dinner parties. I love red wine and dry martinis. Wait, this sounds like a dating profile...

SirRogerKlotz27 karma

Are Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller an awkward couple? Or are they awesome?

NiaVardalos120 karma

They only come over when we have Swingers Nights.

xxcatalopexx26 karma

Where did the "the man is the head, but the woman is the neck and she can can turn the head anyway she pleases" quote come from?

NiaVardalos45 karma

My mom actually said it.

Calabound25 karma

Hi Nia, thanks for doing this AMA.

What do you think production companies are looking for when they look at the structure and story of a script, besides an intriguing plot?

NiaVardalos41 karma

I think production companies are looking for original stories that can be produced at a low budget. So keep your crowd scenes at Wrigley Field to a minimum. Ditto on car chases.

Vapotherm23 karma

Why John Corbett as your love interest in MBFGW? Great choice, just wondering what the process was.

NiaVardalos25 karma

Not to plug my book but it's too long to go into here and is in my book. Ugh, I feel dirty.

etoc23 karma

I just wanted to say I LOVE Connie and Carla, my sister and I may have most of it memorized. You and Toni were amazing together and the music was so great. Thanks so much for a heart-warming movie about acceptance and love in all shapes and sizes.

Here's a question. What do you think is your greatest motivation in your creative processes? I mean, what is the driving force behind your work and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

Thanks for doing this!

NiaVardalos21 karma

Thank you. I honestly am just trying to write as the fearless idiot I truly am, write from that brave place, rather than what I think will sell or be successful. Sometimes I'm able to get a studio to agree, and sometimes they want so many changes and the project becomes derivative and less original. Sometimes this happens because I've made a wrong decision on a character or story arc. Anyway, I just keep writing movies I want to be in. I wrote the book because we're sharing the proceeds among many places that get kids adopted. It was difficult to write, but ultimately, I felt was the right thing to do. I am about to go public with my personal story and it's quite scary. I'd rather make fun of my family.

McNippleson21 karma

I just started following you on Twitter, so I feel like I had the inside scoop on this AMA! I just moved to a place by myself, and the only thing keeping me sane is watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding on repeat. Toula completely let her family take over her wedding. Is that something you would let your family do in real life?

NiaVardalos59 karma

In my real life wedding, this is what happened. We had hundreds of guests on our side. Ian had six.

HappyRaincloud21 karma

There have been a couple of “My Big Fat”-titled reality shows—i.e., My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Amusing or annoying?

NiaVardalos71 karma

All I care about is that people do not think I am affiliated in any way with any of these products. I am not.

psychosoda20 karma

Hey! I'm also Greek-American and a writer and aspiring screenwriter and a bunch of different things that we probably don't even have in common.

Just wondering--how did you get your one-woman show up and running? And do you think it's easier for someone who performs what they write to be more successful at breaking into the industry?

NiaVardalos41 karma

I think it's easier to write a solo show and get it seen now because of the internet. You could post yourself on youtube, you never know who's watching. Look at The Biebs' success for proof of that. Wait, did I just reference Justin Bieber?

sinatraswooner19 karma

Just had to pop in here to tell you that our two-year old daughter is named Tula, after MBFGW! I know the spelling is different, but we totally loved your character so much that it was an obvious choice. Thanks for the great movie! Know that there is a Cajun Tula out in the world!

NiaVardalos26 karma


rediculator19 karma

You're the sweetest person to come out of Winnipeg, ever.

NiaVardalos23 karma

Then you're the sweetest person on Reddit.

Mrsgroves18 karma

Hi Nia! First I have to say I've always loved you as an actress and more so now hearing your story, so inspiring! As an adoptive mom myself I can relate to much of what you wrote, the emotions etc. We became foster parents in 2004 with hopes of some day adopting. In 2006 those dreams came true and in the course of the next 4 years, we were blessed with 7 little boys all biological siblings. Our hearts couldn't be more full :) And in October of 2011 we were named as one of Iowa's Angels in Adoption. Unfortunately we were unable to attend in D.C. Am I right in thinking you were a speaker at this event though? Thank you so much for all you do to raise awareness for adoption. You are an amazing person.

NiaVardalos23 karma

Your story is beautiful and makes the rest of us look like slouches. I can barely get my one daughter fed and my hair combed. xx.

ohemeye17 karma

Hi Nia! I am a big fan, and adopted!

I started a adoption affinity group for students at the school I work at, and was wondering if you had any thoughts on that? Would you let your daughter participate in something like this in the future? What would you like to see the group do to raise awareness about adoption topics?

NiaVardalos50 karma

I don't want to use Reddit to plug my book so will just say quickly: your group sounds great, I would hope my daughter has that same support, and the reason I wrote the book is to raise adoption awareness. And now to counterbalance that Biz Talk, I will share the disgusting thing I had for breakfast: a vanilla protein shake, blended with frozen peaches and a whole zucchini. That's Nature's Broom. Anyone want to come over for breakfast?

ohemeye14 karma

Thanks for the support! I'm going to get our library to buy a copy of your book so our group can read it.

I have to pass on the breakfast invite...rain check?

NiaVardalos42 karma

C'mon, you love zucchini.

moviemaster199316 karma

Any Advice for Screenwriters? like exposition details help with structure. also do you put in camera movements e.g: 'CUT TO' in your scripts? thanks. big fan. hold me :~)

NiaVardalos32 karma

I do use camera movements because I write like a director (translation: I am a control freak.)

rmw13215 karma

What has been your biggest challenge professionally since making it big with My Big Fat Greek Wedding? What would you change if you could do it over again, if anything? Thanks so much!

NiaVardalos57 karma

My biggest challenge professionally is to stay true to my vision and still remain a poilte Winnipegger.

clearing15 karma

Is it true that, due to "Hollywood accounting", you essentially made no money from My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

NiaVardalos34 karma

No. But my mother taught me to be a lady and never discuss money. Now leave me alone, I have to count my jets.

letsredditgabby14 karma

Hi Nia! I love all your stuff, I was wondering how your thought process worked in coming up with funny and original stuff.

NiaVardalos41 karma

I steal from Reddit users, whaddya got?

letsredditgabby7 karma

A million and one things. I will turn around for three minutes, take what you can.

NiaVardalos13 karma

I like the script about the dirty clown. It's mine now. Thank you.

canada9014 karma

If you were approached to do more films, would you be up for it? Or is your life too busy now?

NiaVardalos30 karma

Yes if I can keep my shirt on.

artegos12 karma

I think Tom Hanks' production company distributed MBFGW, or some such. Is tom hanks really as down to earth and nice as he seems? Does he have a dark side you ever caught a glimpse of? I know you probably will be very diplomatic about this, but we'll see.... thanks for the AMA!

NiaVardalos29 karma

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Gary Goetzman produced MBFGW. Tom and Gary's company is Playtone. They're all very nice. Although Ive heard Tom has a dungeon at his house....

daleks-r-usom12 karma

Not so much a question, but a thank you. Thank you so much for not just creating characters that are memorable and funny, but for creating characters that are so real.

NiaVardalos20 karma


SirRogerKlotz11 karma

What is the last movie you saw in theaters. Review it in one sentence, please.

NiaVardalos36 karma

I saw SKYFALL and thought it was great until the woman who led Bond to Javier Bardem got killed FOR NO REASON!!!

ashden11 karma

Hi Nia! I think you're fantastic! Any plans on doing a book tour? If you do, Memphis would love to have you!

NiaVardalos19 karma

Thank you, I think you're fantastic too. Yes, I have a heavy book tour but am not sure if Memphis is included! It'd be great to come though, maybe it can be added? Will you contact your local bookstore and ask them to contact HarperCollins?

dollfacepink10 karma

You are wonderful, love your movies! We hope to adopt in the near future. What are a few things you didn't expect, or any tips that you don't feel get mentioned a lot about adoption or adjustment? Thank you!

NiaVardalos19 karma

I didn't expect it to be so difficult for some and simple for others. The only simple answer is that sometimes one process doesn't work out because your child is waiting somewhere else.

Savvy-B10 karma

OMG! I loved MBFGW and was disappointed the show didn't take off. I kept pointing at my FiL and laughing "That's soooo you!" So thank you again for making that movie and I'm looking forward to more projects from you :)

NiaVardalos16 karma

Hey, thank you.

nowthenmom9 karma

How long ago did you adopt your daughter? I am the mom of 5 kids - 3 of who are adopted. I am looking forward to reading your book. A good friend of mine just wrote a great resource book for adoptive parents. It is called Adoptive Parent Intentional Parent: A Formula for Building & Maintaining Your Child's Safety Net by Stacy Manning. If you would be interested, we would love for you to read it and get your two cents.

NiaVardalos13 karma

Sounds great.

nowthenmom7 karma

It is really important that we all stick together on this adoption journey because it can be rough at times. Thank you for sharing your story.

NiaVardalos22 karma

Thank you. To be honest, I'm terrified to go public. I worry I'm going to have to dodge rude questions for the rest of my life. But I'm sharing the proceeds from the book among many adoption groups who work to help kids have a better life.

MuscleMansMom9 karma

So how authentic is the movie (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) to your life story?

NiaVardalos18 karma

I think I made a lot of it up but my husband says it's a documentary.

sheriffrancis8 karma

Hey, back in Athens at the Hilton you were doing a photoshoot for a magazine and I was sent to film the backstage for a site... we had a little chat about your latest (back then) movie ... just wanted to say hi :)

NiaVardalos24 karma

Hey hi! My parents were with me the whole time so they could keep an eye on my co-star Alexi's hands.

Dorenie41 karma

Yes we were!

NiaVardalos45 karma

YOU GUYS, my mom commented! That's my real mom. And yes, she and my dad are in ALL my movies. They work for set-food.

HeySweetUsernameBro8 karma

I live just down the street from Bellamy's in St. Vital...I've been eating there pretty much every weekend for the last year or so, and I've always seen the pictures of you on the wall but never asked about them. What's the story there?

NiaVardalos14 karma

That's my sister and brother in law's!

VR6T7 karma

Did you put Windex?

NiaVardalos25 karma

I have a zit on my chin that needs its own zipcode, will you please come over with some Windex?

utter_mayhem7 karma

Hi Nia! I'm a big fan and a fellow adoptive parent to a gorgeous and smart 13 month old boy. I'm looking forward to injecting some humor from the insights in your book into some of the crazy questions we're often asked. Any chance you'll be making a stop in Cincinnati with your book? Also, what's your best tip for helping your daughter understand her identity as an adoptive child?

NiaVardalos11 karma

Hi, I'm not sure which cities are on the tour, but hopefully will know more soon. As for helping my daughter remember her past: we bring it up from time to time, no matter how painful it is. We try to help her know she was not a mistake or abandoned. And we make her adoption part of her life but not her identity. It's a constantly morphing plan as she grows up.

Gingersnap30007 karma

I absolutely loved My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it's one of my favorite movies. Did you ever think that your movie, which was considered an indie film, make it so big? Thanks for doing this AMA!

NiaVardalos10 karma

No, I'm still stunned by it all. But very very grateful.

moviemaster19937 karma

Hi again do you struggle with writing exposition ans with structure?

NiaVardalos21 karma

I tend to not worry about structure on the first draft. I try to break all my characters by page 25, but enjoy bringing someone new in late in the second act. It helps if you never have the main character handle exposition -- have the supporting characters say all that. Explain Action is less than two lines - execs tend to skip over it. My first draft tends to be overlong, but then I put it away for a week or so. I read a printed-out version, red-penning large chunks that aren't needed. Then, I go back in and begin again. I hate writing by the way. Hate it. Hardest, most thankless and disrespected job in the world. But I love it when actors say my lines.

LearningLifeAsIGo7 karma

How often do people approach you with a bottle of Windex?

NiaVardalos31 karma

Even my Gyno made the joke.

devilsfoodadvocate6 karma

The adoption process in the United States is often associated with scores of red tape, waiting, rejection, and costly paperwork. I think this scares off a lot of would-be adopters.

What can you share with us about the process that you think might change people's minds about adoption?

NiaVardalos6 karma

Yes you're right, it is associated with that but is actually not true and is why I wrote the book - to dispel the myths. It's often quite easy to adopt. Sure, often not, but is worth it in the end, right? The back 25 pages of INSTANT MOM are How To Adopt from every country on the planet.

Ember3576 karma

I loved your clothes in My Life in Ruins, I have a similar body type to you and would love to know who designed for you. PS, Connie and Carla made me laugh until I peed myself.

NiaVardalos6 karma

Thank you, re: C&C, me too. I loved making that movie. Okay, re: my clothes, sadly, they were made for the movie, or bought in Spain and Greece. They're in storage now, I'd like to get at them too.

secretary_g6 karma

Hi Nia! I'm Armenian so My Big Fat Greek Wedding was totally relatable and hilarious! I'm going to Greece (Athens, Mykonos, Santorini) over the summer and would love to know your favorite must see places to visit, and where to eat!

NiaVardalos13 karma

any nude beach.

bagofhoos5 karma

What has been your biggest struggle of adopting through foster care? My husband and I are starting the foster to adopt process and we're nervous!

Edit: what's been your greatest success in the process?

NiaVardalos24 karma

To be honest, adopting from foster care is quite simple if you use an FFA. Google Foster Family Agency to find this free service in your state or province. To further confuse the masses, it sounds like Foster Agency. But it's different.

PeroxidePoofter5 karma

Connie and Carla is one of my favorite comedies ever. Could you talk about what it was like to transform into a drag queen every night? What was surprising and did you learn any tips that you took into your regular life?

NiaVardalos12 karma

It took so much time just to get those eyelashes on! And the clothes are tight. Nothing like drag to make you feel bloated. But then the wig goes on, music starts and it's really fun to dance around in giant heels. You're doing it right now, aren't you?

amyflora4 karma

I loved Connie and Carla, was there any reason you chose to address the subject matter (drag community)?

NiaVardalos14 karma

Because I love musical theater and the gay community equally. And bacon.

Maemobley4 karma

HEy Nia! HUGE fan of your work esp Connie and Carla.

My question is: As a woman in the film industry, does it bother you when people say that women can't be funny?

NiaVardalos18 karma

Doesn't bother me because nobody with a brain says that.

whatevrmn3 karma

Are we going to see you guest star on Cougar Town again? I loved that episode.

NiaVardalos3 karma

I hope so. I really liked sitting around in Ian's trailer.

Leighaptc3 karma

I love your movies!! Did you like playing the ugly duckling and doing the make over in MBFGW?

I really loved My Life In Ruins, I saw it after I went to Greece, toward the end you were a lot like my guide, how did you get into the role?

NiaVardalos6 karma

I love a good makeover but would prefer to play the duckling because it's less time in the Hair and Makeup chair. For My Life In Ruins, I took tours in many cities. Tough job.

freemarket273 karma

The portrayal of the white groom's parents in MBFGW was pretty brutal. Are white middle americans the only ethnic group in America that Hollywood can make fun of without repercussions?

NiaVardalos20 karma

Have you had your coffee today? I've never heard that before, in ten years since the movie came out. I'm sorry if you were offended. My approach to comedy is "come laugh with us", not "let's laugh at them". And no, the new group to laugh at is Gingers. If you have red hair... oh boy.

pagirl3 karma

Is there anyone in particular you haven't worked with yet that you'd like to work with?

NiaVardalos10 karma

De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Kate Winslet, Jewel, Pink, Drew Barrymore, Hugh Grant, to name a few.

imbusyworking3 karma

I just want to say that I think you are amazing, funny and you have gorgeous skin (in a friendly way, not in a "I'm gonna make a suit outta yer purdy skin" way).

And I motherfucking LOVE Connie and Carla.

NiaVardalos4 karma

Your post delights me. I'm going to go moisturize now.