Though writer/actress Nia Vardalos has yet to come anywhere near the runaway success of her 2002 effort My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I think its $369 million worldwide gross (on a $5 million indie budget, no less) justified her services for at least a decade. As this is only year eight, count Walden Media among the studios who believe there is still a bit of Greek magic left in her pen.
Walden is fast-tracking Happy Mother’s Day, an ensemble comedy that revolves around four suburban moms who take a road trip to commemorate the titular holiday. Vardalos will, of course, star as one of the four leads in addition to her scripting duties. The studio is currently looking to fill out the cast and secure a director, hoping to get filming underway by the end of the year. More after the jump:
In a statement, Vardalos made an early pitch to the film’s eventual maternal audience:
“It’s about the pressure of doing it all: raising children plus working, while your gut’s held in by Spanx.” [Variety]
Despite maintaining steady work as a writer over the last eight years, it would be kind to refer to critical and commercial reception as “mixed.” The 2003 CBS series My Big Fat Greek Life was, in retrospect, an early misstep in an attempt to capitalize on the appeal of the cinematic mothership. The 2004 drag queen comedy Connie and Carla floundered, and even an attempt to re-team with Wedding co-star John Corbett in 2009’s I Hate Valentine’s Day failed to gain traction.
But this Mother’s Day deal caps a good year for Vardalos. She co-wrote Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks, who helped define her success as producer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Hanks plans to direct and star alongside Julia Roberts.
With the right cast, Mother’s Day could very well tap into the female market that journos love to write about, and you can never go wrong with Tom Hanks as a partner. The odds are in Vardalos’ favor for a rejuvenated 2011.