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How “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” pays tribute to the films' patriarch Michael Constantine

How “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3” pays tribute to the films' patriarch Michael Constantine

Michael Constantine — and his onscreen alter ego Gus Portokalos — may be gone, but his presence is still very much felt in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3.

The third film follows Toula (Nia Vardalos), Ian (John Corbett), and the Portokalos family as they travel to Gus' village in Greece in search of his best friends from childhood. Nick (Louis Mandylor) also brings along his father's ashes, as they seek to lay Gus to rest and celebrate his memory in his birthplace.

Producer Rita Wilson tells EW how the third film evolved from a story of the family accompanying Gus to Greece to its present form. "Originally we were going to bring the family to Greece with Michael Constantine's character coming back to his childhood village," she says. "But he got older and then he got sick, and then he passed away."

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING

Everett Collection Michael Constantine in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3'

Wilson goes on to explain how bringing Gus' ashes back to his village, coupled with Vardalos' idea of delivering Gus' journal to his childhood friends, created "the window into how we could get the family to Greece." She adds, "We were so thankful to have Michael Constantine's presence with us in the film, even though he's passed away."

Vardalos previously posted on Instagram about how Constantine had given his blessing to the third film before his 2021 death. "He had told me he wouldn't be able to join us for the third film and his wish was that we go on," Vardalos stated. "I wrote the screenplay to reflect Michael's decision and will always treasure his last messages to me, hoping we were filming soon."

Wilson feels all of the Greek Wedding movies will endure as part of Constantine's legacy. "He's so beloved, and fortunately, he lives on in the first and second movie," she notes. "But we wanted him to be with us, and we dedicate the [third] movie to him."

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 is now in theaters.

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