Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-05-25
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Nia Vardalos: From 'Greek Wedding' to holding court on 'SVU'
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2013-01-30

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Actress Nia Vardalos found romance and an Academy Award nomination for the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She is actually from Greek Canadian parents and married to Cougar Town's Ian Gomez. She adopted a daughter and became a U.S. citizen in 1999. Then, she pretended to be a drag queen in Connie and Carla, and a florist in I Hate Valentine's Day.

Her television roles have included being on Drop Dead Diva, My Big Fat Greek Life and Grey's Anatomy. She returns to TV for a guest stint this week on Law & Order: SVU as an attorney.

Vardalos talked about that and her big fat gay life with musicals.

Windy City Times: Hi, Nia. I think I have your career covered because I'm gay and adopted, and I live in Chicago.

Nia Vardalos: My God—are we related?

WCT: We might be! Could you talk about your huge gay following after playing a drag queen?

Nia Vardalos: Thank you so much. Actually, I have a book coming out called Instant Mom, which is the story of how I became a mom to our daughter was a preschooler when we adopted her and it was with 14 hours' notice she walked in our door.

One of the things that I talk about is how I am trying very hard to play musicals constantly because I love musicals so much I think I actually am a gay man. I play them in the car. The moment I turned around and she was singing the lines to Funny Girl, I was like, "My work is done."

WCT: Do you have a favorite musical?

Nia Vardalos: I would say it's a tossup between Evita and Rent. Evita, when I sing it in my car, I play Che and Evita of course.

WCT: What made you want to play this character on Law & Order: SVU?

Nia Vardalos: I never get offered things like this. I never get roles where I get to say lines like "There is a presupposition. The perpetrator is in that line-up." Never. The roles that I'm offered are usually I stand on a cliff with wind blowing my hair and I kiss a guy way out of my league. Those are my roles.

So this was delightful for me to get to go and do something nerdy again. You know, I'm from Second City. Second City girls like to black out a tooth and play a character, so that was extremely freeing. I got to work with Mariska [Hargitay], and Raul [Esparza] and Ice-T. Like it was just a dream. Like every day, I was calling my husband going, "No way!"

WCT: What did you think of her when you got the script? It says she is a deceptively tough attorney.

Nia Vardalos: I actually wondered about that as well. It said, "Disheveled," and I wondered am I walking into a room surrounded by a mess like the character Pigpen from Charlie Brown. You know I really wasn't sure, but the costumer is so good at keeping things from being costume-y. She and I found this really great look that it was just a person who is absolutely more focused on her work than her appearance. The producers and I agreed that I would be kempt, but just sort of nerdy. So not slovenly, the case is the most important thing to this person and I just felt that was so freeing. I've never worn more flammable polyester in my life.

The clothes, the shoes, the everything, were just really forming for me. It helped me create this slouchy walk. Also, I love that about the show. That things are never what they seem to be. I think the writing is inspired in that way that you think things are going one way and then they go the other.

WCT: Who did you base the character on?

Nia Vardalos: I have a cousin to illustrate any situation. There are 28 of us so there is always somebody. I have a cousin who is a prosecutor and now a judge in Cook County, Ill.

When I worked at Second City in Chicago, on my days off, I would go and watch there in the courtroom because it was just fascinating to me. When I was teaching classes at Second City I had a few lawyers taking improvisational classes because they felt that it would make them a little quicker on their feet. So I used my cousin Anna Demacopoulos as the inspiration for this character. Not the look, but for the fierceness and the tenacity.

WCT: What was a memorable moment from filming the episode?

Nia Vardalos: It happened off-camera, actually. Raul Esparza leaned into my ear and sang the song that I love so much from Company. I melted and Mariska absolutely cracked up laughing. I just loved them. They were really welcoming and really warm, and I told them all what a fan I was of them, and they just let me gush. It was really a nice set.

WCT: What was working with the cast like?

Nia Vardalos: Sometimes, it can feel a little clique-y. You know how sometimes you don't realize when you are walking into a new job you are the one that no one knows. I tend to be a little tentative in new situations and sort of see what its like, but they didn't even give me a chance.

As soon as I walked on the set, Mariska was walking the other way and she went, "Hey I'm so glad you are here," and hugged me before I had even gone into hair and makeup. When I got to the set in my sort of nerdy outfit with the glasses, they all started laughing and were just like really fun.

WCT: How is working on films different than television?

Nia Vardalos: For me, it's the same because I've only done low-budget films, so I never get the luxury of several takes. We are usually going very quickly and the camera barely moves. Now in a TV show like this—with multiple cameras, a very experienced director, a crew with DP—it's almost a step up for me from the productions.

Like I remember when we were shooting My Life in Ruins in Greece; we were so independently financed that we were afraid we were going to be shut down at any moment. That film was a negative pick-up for FOX.

My movies are always on a wing and a prayer. When I shot I Hate Valentine's Day, it was so low-budget, and an 18-day shoot. My camera never moved. I'm sure you noticed. For my directorial debut, I had so little footage to cut from that during John Corbett's speech, if he flubbed a line and I had to cut away from him, I had to use my stupid expression staring off camera.

I had nothing. My God. It was terrible. I couldn't even cut to a lamp. I used every there was nothing for outtakes even. I used every shred of film on that thing. Then I get to a set like Law & Order: SVU and it's a well-oiled machine.

WCT: You were nominated for an Oscar with My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Have you been able to check out the other nominees?

Nia Vardalos: Yeah, that's a big thing over here. We do movie night a lot. We like to see the films in theaters. Even though I get screeners there's just nothing as special as going into a movie theater. I think it's just the way I was raised. I don't like to watch a movie unless I'm smelling popcorn. We have been seeing as many movies as possible, and by we, I mean my husband and I.

WCT: Well, come back to Chicago soon.

Nia Vardalos: I actually am coming back for the book tour and I'm very excited. I realize that the signing will be the swarthiest one you've ever seen because I will be predominantly made up by my cousins.

WCT: I will bring the gays to the signing.

Nia Vardalos: Okay, so we will have feta and showtunes. How will we go wrong?

Look for Vardalos on Law & Order: SVU on the "Criminal Hatred" episode Jan. 30. Visit www.nbc.com for details.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Entertainment news: 'Looking' movie, Maroon 5, 'Grey's Anatomy,' Whoopi 2016-05-24
Latest 'RuPaul's Drag Race' winner crowned 2016-05-17
Entertainment news: Mariah Carey, Gus Van Sant, Azealia Banks, Wilson Cruz 2016-05-17
TV personality 'New York' gets real on 'Family Therapy' 2016-05-17
Trans actress Shakina Nayfack, out in the open 2016-05-17
BENT NIGHTS: mtvghosts, Lincoln Durham 2016-05-17
Web series features gay men of color in Chicago 2016-05-11
Five Worth Finding: Black Deutschland, Pretty Little Liars, Panes cafe 2016-04-26
NUNN ON ONE Vanessa Williams talks gay classmates, fashion, 'Ugly Betty' 2016-04-19
'Chicago Med' actress talks diversity, diabetes 2016-04-18
LGBT tech partnership files comments with Federal Comm. Commission on proposal 2016-04-09
Fawzia Mirza plans feature film, Signature Move 2016-04-09
Transgender actress Shakina Nayfack joins Hulu's "Difficult People" cast 2016-04-08
Chicago TV Awards April 18-20 2016-04-05
Entertainment: British actors, Rosie's divorce, Caitlyn on 'Transparent,' Nate Berkus 2016-04-05
Upcoming events: Celebrity Bowl, Chicago TV Awards 2016-03-29
Entertainment: Elton John, Maria Bello, Gwen Stefani, TMZ's Harvey Levin 2016-03-29
Gay reality-star student Matt Sarafa battles Brown University 2016-03-23
Entertainment: Jillian Michaels; Matthew Morrison; divas; reality star dies 2016-03-15
PWR BTTM talks Ra Ra Riot and RuPaul 2016-03-15
New FYI TV series includes gay male couple, starts March 15 2016-03-11
Jillian Michaels engaged to Heidi Rhoades, proposal on video 2016-03-09
NUNN ON ONE TELEVISION: Tai Trang a 'Survivor' 2016-03-09
'Downton' exhibit extended thru May 29 2016-03-09
Entertainment: Ruby Rose; Eddie Redmayne; Demi Lovato; 'Star Wars' 2016-03-08
"The Ronnie and Eddie Show" launch crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo. 2016-02-23
HRC to honor 'Empire', 'Hunger Games' producer Nina Jacobson 2016-02-17
'Underground' screens at Dusable 2016-02-16
TELEVISION Two Windy City queens 'Drag Race' into herstory 2016-02-16
Entertainment: Chaz Bono; Johnny Weir; Barry Manilow; Grammy non-performers 2016-02-16
NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Amy Landecker lands dream job on 'Transparent' 2016-02-10
Entertainment news: Nick Jonas; Laverne Cox; Abby Wambach; Hugh Jackman 2016-02-09
RuPaul's Drag Race Season 8 2016-02-03
Entertainment news: Ellen Page; Bette Midler; Sam Smith; Chloe Grace Moretz 2016-01-19
Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times Opens at Driehaus Museum 2016-01-14
Surprises mark Golden Globes 2016-01-12
Entertainment: Cheyenne Jackson; Martha Stewart; 'Housewives'; 'Prancing Elites' 2015-12-29
YEAR IN REVIEW TV showed diverse formats, faces 2015-12-16
'Transparent' creator comes out as lesbian 2015-12-16
Entertainment news: RuPaul; Alex Pettyfer; Adele; Sting's daughter 2015-12-08
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.