My Big Fat Greek Wedding: the story so far

The madcap yet loveable Portokalos clan is back for a third helping of fun in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. Director and star Nia Vardalos returns to her role as the hapless, lovelorn 'Toula' Portokalos in a story that relocates the family to their homeland after a tragic bereavement.

We realise that it's been quite a while since the Greek Wedding franchise started (2002, in fact), so if you need to be brought up to speed, here's Toula's story so far.


My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

  • Nia Vardalos originated My Big Fat Greek Wedding as a one-woman play in Los Angeles
  • The production was based on her own experiences including her marriage to a non-Greek man
  • Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson watched the production and became interested in optioning the rights
  • After turning down several opportunities to adapt the screenplay into a movie, Vardalos was approached by Hanks and also given the opportunity to star in the lead role
  • The movie centres on Vardalos' character Toula who is harassed by her loving but overbearing family to get married and have children
  • While working in her family's Greek restaurant, Toula meets and falls in love with Ian (John Corbett)
  • Toula disguises the truth from her family and begins to see Ian on the sly, although they eventually find out
  • Against the odds, and bearing in mind the disapproval from both Toula and Ian's parents, the two lovers eventually tie the knot
  • Following their marriage Toula and Ian are revealed to have a young daughter, and they're living next door to the former's parents Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan)
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding initially underwent a limited release in April 2002
  • Positive audience reception then saw it expanded to a wider release in summer 2002
  • It eventually became a critical hit and a sleeper commercial success, grossing $368 million against its $5 million budget
  • Vardalos was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (losing to Pedro Almodovar for his script for Talk To Her)
  • Vardalos also won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

  • After a long absence, Toula Portokalos nee Portokalos-Miller and her family returned to the big screen in the sequel, which picks up with their daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris)
  • Now a rebellious 17-year-old teen, Paris rails against her mother's Greek traditions and the influence of her family
  • Toula is also grappling with the fact that her parents Gus and Maria are getting older
  • When Gus claims to have discovered that he is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great, he applies to an ancestry site for official confirmation
  • In the process, Gus searches for his marriage records and discovers that his marriage to Maria was never officially signed off by the priest
  • This instigates a brand new wedding ceremony some 50 years after Gus and Maria apparently first tied the knot
  • Meanwhile, Paris must decide whether to attend Northwestern University in Chicago, allowing her to be closer to Toula, or NYU in New York
  • Eventually, Gus and Maria, plus Toula and Ian, whose own marriage has been on the skids, renew their vows
  • Toula's family drop Paris off at her college in New York
  • This is the first movie in the series to be directed by Nia Vardalos
  • Once again scripted by Vardalos and produced by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 failed to hit the heights of the first movie

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (2023)

  • The third film follows Toula and her family on a trip to Greece for a family reunion after the death of Gus
  • Nia Vardalos had hinted at the possibility of a third movie in 2016, although she said no script had been written
  • The movie was officially greenlit in 2021 and after delays associated with COVID-19, began filming in 2022
  • Principal photography took place in Athens and Corfu, making this the first movie in the series to be filmed in Greece
  • As with the second film, it's directed, written by and starring Vardalos with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson again acting in their capacity as producers
  • The third movie is dedicated to the memory of Gus actor Michael Constantine who passed away in 2021 at the age of 94

Click the link below to book your tickets for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. It's released at Cineworld on September 8th.