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CONNIE AND CARLA

About The Production
"When My Big Fat Greek Wedding started getting noticed,” Nia Vardalos recalls, "people began knocking on my door asking, ‘What else do you have?' Of course, I said, ‘Hey, I have this script in my drawer about two women who hide out as drag queens.'”

Turns out that "script in my drawer” was a charmer about two women, starry-eyed dreamers named Connie and Carla, who, through a combination of maintaining a positive outlook in the face of less than glowing reviews and working tirelessly at their craft, finally get their big break in "the biz.” And that is a scenario with which Vardalos is somewhat familiar.

"Oh yeah,” she remembers, "when I started out, my phone wasn't exactly ringing off the hook with dealmakers looking for that funny Greek girl. Please. But like the classic story, I just kept at it. I really had to be my own cheerleader, at times. It can be really tough, sometimes being the only person in your corner. But I believed. And I worked at whatever I could do. I had yard sales even! And I kept doing what I loved and drawing from my own experiences. I put it all into a play and the right people saw it…and then it happened.”

Producer Jonathan Glickman, President for Spyglass Entertainment, was visiting family in Detroit when Vardalos' film was playing in theaters. His cousin had just seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding and was crazy about it. Lured by great word of mouth, Glickman watched the movie and liked what he saw.

Glickman recounts, "I'd heard some buzz on the picture—it had made about 10 million at that point, but people hadn't started talking about Nia…yet. I knew that Peter Safran represented her, so we all sat down and had a very nice meeting. She gave us her script for Connie and Carla and as soon as I read it, I knew there was a great idea in there. I gave the script to Roger [Birnbaum] and Gary [Barber], and we decided to acquire the rights. Then, almost right after that, Nia became a big star.”

When Vardalos was initially writing the script for Connie and Carla, she did not set out to pen a film about drag queens, per se. "I write like I talk,” she says. "I open my mouth and things come out before my brain catches up. My original thinking was that it would be really fun to sing and dance in something, so I started writing about these two girls from Chicago who are dinner theater performers. They get fired from their jobs, they get evicted from their apartment, then they go to a bar, and finally they think things are looking up because they're dancing with two guys. And then I wrote ‘and the two guys kiss.' I mean, what else could go wrong for these two girls? And then I thought, ‘Wait a minute…wouldn't it be funny if a drag show started and these two girls wanted to be in the show?' So I went back to the beginning and shifted the concept.”

As she did with My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the performer/writer drew from her own life—and her life-long love affair with musical theater in particular ("Just try and be in a bad mood while singing a show tune…”)—inspiring the titular characters' own adoration of the genre. While growing up in Canada, Vardalos had performed in musicals while in high school, continuing to sing and dance in summer stock and later in dinner theater. She remembers, "I was performing in Oklahoma at a dinner theater in Toronto—we were waitressing and also in the show, so we would serve them dinner and chat with them and then we'd jump onstage and do the show. At intermission, we'd clear and bring dessert and then finish the show. I thought it was hilarious. I did the show and got to know the audience as I was clearing away their prime rib.”

"Nia's script is funny and touching,” says producer Roger Birnbaum who, along with Gary Barber, shares the titles of Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Spyglass Entertainment. "Of all the scripts that come across our desks

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