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Nia Vardalos teams up with Tom Hanks in 'Larry Crowne'

July 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nia Vardalos, the woman behind the mega-hit romantic comedy "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," went behind the scenes with Tom Hanks in "Larry Crowne" in her latest project.

Hanks plays a man who suddenly finds himself unemployed because he doesn't have a college degree. So he decides to get one.

Hanks is the director and one of the producers of the film. He also co-wrote it with Vardalos.

"He said, 'I have an idea. Do you want to write it with me?'" said Vardalos. "And he set out to create a very real romantic comedy about what's happening in this country and about this guy and what happens. And it's not a downer. It's an uplifting movie, and it's for grown-ups and kids."

Vardalos says she was delighted to be a part of a film co-written by her friend.

"When I was driving up Highland and saw the giant billboard and thought, 'oh, I love that poster, there's my name,'" said Vardalos. "I was really excited. I was just happy to be along for the ride."

Vardalos knows how to write. She got an Oscar nomination as the writer of her breakthrough hit, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

The memories of that moment are still vivid for her now.

"When 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' was breaking all these records and everything was happening and there were articles saying, 'this girl's changing Hollywood,' I was like, 'What are you talking about?'" said Vardalos. "And then I would be at home and go, 'oh mom, 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' just crossed $100 million' and my mom said, 'that's nice, take the chicken out of the oven.'"

You won't see Vardalos in "Larry Crowne," but you will hear her as the voice of a GPS system.

Vardalos never stops. One of her next roles is especially exciting for this mother of a young girl.

"I'm actually playing the mom in the new 'American Girl' movie," said Vardalos. "Because all I want to do is be a hero in my daughter's eyes."

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