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Women struggling with dearth of roles in Hollywood, says Nia Vardalos

Published 15/03/2016

Nia Vardalos has written the sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
Nia Vardalos has written the sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos has said women are "struggling" in Hollywood due to a lack of strong roles.

The 53-year-old has written the sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and given some of the best lines to the film's female characters.

"As a writer it's an absolutely conscious decision to create strong roles for women," she told the Radio Times.

"Every woman is struggling because there's a dearth of roles in Hollywood. I can't complain, I just have to keep writing."

She added: "But my real goal is parity - both genders equally represented within one screenplay.

"I'm hoping that my male counterparts will do the same and stop saying, 'Hey, there are two women in there. What are you complaining about?'"

She said: "They have no last names: one is a wife, one is a whore ... it's tedious."

Based on an autobiographical one-woman show written by Vardalos, a Canadian of Greek descent, My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a smash hit in 2002.

Filmed in under a month on a budget of 5 million dollars, it became one of the highest-grossing romantic comedies in decades, taking in 241.4 million dollars in the US, and earning an additional 127.3 million dollars internationally.

The film depicted a woman's comic struggle to find her identity and true love, while dealing with her crazy Greek family.

Actress Rita Wilson was a driving force behind My Big Fat Greek Wedding's transition from stage to Hollywood movie.

The 59-year-old wife of Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, daughter of a Greek immigrant to the US, has a producing credit on both films and will play a woman called Anna in the sequel.

Alongside Vardalos as Toula Portokalos-Miller, much of the original ensemble cast has returned for the second film, including Sex And The City's John Corbett as Ian.

He is joined by 88-year-old Michael Constantine as Gus Portokalos, Toula's father, and Beaches' Lainie Kazan as her mother Maria.

Ian Gomez, the real-life husband of Vardalos who starred in Cougar Town with Friends' Courteney Cox, plays Ian's best friend Mike.

Vardalos and Gomez also teamed up to present The Great Holiday Baking Show, a US version of The Great British Bake Off, which featured Mary Berry.

"She is so dreamy!" the American said of Bath-born Berry. "She makes you want to sit up straight and be a good person. She's hilarious."

The US series premiered in 2015.

Broadcaster ABC is yet to confirm another series, but Vardalos and her husband enjoyed being the American Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

:: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is scheduled for release in the UK on March 25.

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