The sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding is finally here, and we can’t wait to see what the Portokalos family has been up to over the last few years! The family has grown since we last saw them, with the addition of Toula and Ian Miller’s teenage daughter, Paris. Justine chatted with actress Elena Kampouris (Paris) to find out what it’s like to join a big Greek family, both on and off screen.
Like her character Paris, Elena is half Greek, even though it’s her mother’s French American roots that shine through in Elena’s fair skin and blonde hair. “No one ever believes me when I say I’m Greek. I knew I wouldn’t have high chances of getting the part because I’m not a viable, typical Greek girl to many people.” For that reason, Elena was hesitant to audition for the role. “It would have been heartbreaking to get rejected from a movie like this that has had such a special place in my heart and in my family.” However, she gave the try-out a shot and landed the role after a chemistry read with fellow actor Alex Wolff. All she needed was some brown hair dye to complete the look. “It’s still surreal to me that I’m an actual member of the Portokalos family,” Elena shares. And just how similar is Elena to her character Paris? “Paris is half Greek. I’m half Greek. She has a crazy, lovable but crazy, family. I have the same thing!” This role truly seems like a match made in Greek heaven!
Although Elena was initially nervous about being one of the only new additions to the tight-knit cast, she says it was a seamless transition into filming with the colorful group. “The first day, everyone was just so warm and welcoming and made me feel right at home,” she shares. With the addition of teenager Paris to the family line, audiences will experience a different generation navigating the challenges of high school, “dealing with going to college, prom and boys, trying to find her identity but also dealing with a suffocating Greek family,” Elena says. “I think a lot of girls can relate to that, whether they’re Greek or not.”
And what else can fans expect from this highly anticipated sequel? “I think they’re going to be surprised that the charm is still there from the first one. That magic has new life breathed into it. I think they’re going to like seeing the characters from so long ago that we all fell in love with,” Elena says. It’s that family dynamic that is at the heart of these movies, and it’s what keeps the audience coming back for more. As Elena shares, the universal ups and downs of families are something that everyone can relate to. “All families are the same at the end of the day, no matter which culture you’re coming from. We’ve all got dysfunctional family members and parents that drive us crazy and embarrass us, but we know that they love us and only want the best for us.” We can’t wait to see what adventures await Paris and the Portokalos family this time around!
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is now in theaters. Opa!