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GIANNOPOULOS, NICK - THE KINGS OF MYKONOS: WOG BOY 2

Good casting and good luck (combined with long years of hard work on the script) helped to make Nick Giannopoulos’ Wog Boy sequel a success, he tells Andrew L. Urban.

When the stunning, statuesque blonde Zeta Makrypoulia walked in for her audition in front of co-writer/star Nick Giannopoulos and director Peter Andrikidis, the two men exchanged knowing glances: “We were both thinking, ‘Oh please let her be great’,” recalls Giannopoulos with a laugh. “She has such great presence, she’s alluring, beautiful … and yes, she’s great!” She sings well, too.

Casting the Greek supporting roles for their film The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2, was a key to its success, says Giannopoulos, shortly after introducing the first screening of the film to an invited but public audience in Sydney. The gorgeous Zeta plays a key role as the singer in the nightclub owned by Mahili (Alex Dimitriades) – who also owns a fair slab of beachfront – and wants to own more.

"You need a lot of luck as well as hard work"

“You need a lot of luck as well as hard work,” says Giannopoulos. “We got both … we had the best casting agent in Greece, Makis Gazis. And in Greece, the actors don’t have agents, so Makis has direct contact with them.”

One piece of bad luck turned out to be good luck in disguise. After testing 20 beautiful actresses in Italy, the actress cast to play the mysterious black beauty turning heads and hearts on Mykonos – including that of Vince Colosimo’s character, Frank - was hospitalised two days before shooting began. “The Italian casting guy says on the phone not to worry, he’ll send us someone who’ll be perfect,” says Giannopoulos, although he and Andrikidis remained nervous.

“On the very first day of the shoot, the Italian actress is scheduled to shoot a morning scene in which she has a cramp while swimming and almost drowns. We hadn’t yet met the replacement actress, Cosima Coppola, and she was due to start at 5am. Sure enough, she arrives, does the drowning scene and then a kissing scene with Vince … and then introduces herself. She is fantastic!” raves Giannopoulos.

It should come as no surprise that the Greek cast are all top notch: “Makis was saying their next job, for almost all of them, is back on stage. There are 30 live shows going at any one time, ranging from modern comedy to Shakespeare and that’s where a lot of these actors work … as well as TV.”

But not all the supports are professional actors. “The hardest to cast were the two German scientists,” says Giannopoulos. “We saw dozens of guys, but nobody quite captured what we were looking for. Then one day the two German guys who run the Paradise Club were walking by and called out to say hello ... in their fine German accents. Peter and I immediately fell about laughing, so they asked what was so funny, and of course they were so funny but didn’t know it. We asked them to do a test there and then, and they obliged with a shrug; ‘but we’re nightclub owners’.” As it happens, Thomas Heyne and Mario Hertle almost steal the film.

Giannopoulos says he is a big fan of the Billy Wilder and Blake Edwards movies. “They always used local actors when shooting in foreign locations. It makes it authentic.”

"plenty of praise from Greece"

Before casting began, the biggest resistance from the locals was their sensitivity to how Greece in general and Mykonos in particular, would be presented in the film. “They didn’t want another Zorba the Greek or My Life in Ruins sort of image …” Evidently the film has met with plenty of praise from Greece, even before they finished shooting. “By the third week of shooting Vince and I couldn’t pay for a single meal! One guy did a painting for us. The Mayor threw a big party in the port, which ended with fireworks. The Minister for Tourism sent me a thank you letter,” says Giannopoulos with gusto.

On May 29, 2010, Giannopoulos will attend a special screening of the film at the Mykonos open air cinema, where Greek politicians, VIPs and almost the entire population of Mykonos (8,000) is expected to squeeze in so they can see their island on the big screen – and many of themselves as extras.

SYNOPSIS
When Steve 'The Wog Boy' Karamitsis (Nick Giannopoulos) inherits a beach on the Greek resort island of Mykonos from an uncle he's never met, he and his Italian friend Frank (Vince Colosimo) head over to the island with high expectations. But while Mykonos is beautiful and full of gorgeous women, his extended family is distrustful and his inheritance is under a cloud. Steve and Frank find themselves in a complicated situation with the wealthy Mahili (Alex Dimitriades) eager to acquire Steve’s beach to expand his property empire.

Published May 20, 2010
 

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