Photo courtesy of Elena Kampouris
ELENA KAMPOURIS: the youngest star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”
At age 18, Elena Kampouris is already sweeping America with her performance in the box office hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.” Kampouris plays Paris, the 17-year-old daughter of Toula Portokalos Miller (Nia Vardalos) and Ian Miller (John Corbett). Read this Q&A interview to learn about Kampouris’s experience.
RS: Describe the moment when you heard that you got the role of Paris.
EK: The way I got the news was very unorthodox! I’d been flown out for the day to Toronto with Alex Wolff (Bennett) to chemistry read with Nia in person with the producers and director, to get back home that same day. Alex and I had a fun plane ride over getting to know each other better and freaking out hoping we’d get the parts! It was at the read where Nia told us we got our roles in the room, with the camera taping us. Alex kept his cool and I started crying in front of Nia because I couldn’t believe it and I’m an emotional Greek. We were driven straight to our character fittings afterwards and flown back home to get ready to start shooting in a week. It was the most surreal day and the best plane ride back!
RS: What have you learned from Nia Vardalos after working with her? What is your relationship like off-screen?
EK: I’ve learned a lot from Nia’s generosity, strength, creativity, and not to mention kindness. We got super close while shooting, she really mentored me and I look up to her not only as a second mom but as an inspiration as a young woman.
RS: Can you recall a specific scene where it was hard not to break character and laugh?
EK: It was hard not to break in pretty much every scene with the whole family, especially ones with the hilarious Andrea Martin (Aunt Voula).
RS: Besides growing up in a Greek family, how are you similar to your character, Paris?
When we shot I was 17, Paris is 17 too. We’re both half Greek and we’re both figuring out who we are and what path we want to follow!
RS: Michael Constantine (Kostas Portokalos) allowed you to call him “Papou” both on and off screen. How did he act like a grandfather in real life?
He was a mentor to me, told me lots and lots of incredible stories, made me laugh and also looked out for me!
RS: Would you ever consider writing a screenplay?
EK: I wrote my first screenplay was I was twelve! I love to write.
RS: If you could play any character from any movie ever made, who would it be?
EK: I’d want to play a sloth in Zootopia 2 the sequel because my spirit animal is the sloth along with bulldogs! 😉
Keep up with Elena by following her on twitter @ElenaKampouris.