LIFE

Diaspora Greeks on the path to small- and big-screen fame

By Panayiotis Panagopoulos

Much has been written in this country about the Greek heritage of famous actors and actresses with brilliant careers in Hollywood and on popular American TV shows. However, while the Greek roots of Jennifer Aniston, Tina Fey, Zach Galifianakis, Melina Kanakaredes and Betty White are common knowledge, a new generation of actors and directors is emerging, most of whom were born in the United States to first- or second-generation migrants. They might not yet be household names, but the films and series that they play in are, and that?s a good start.

?Revolution? is a new US sci-fi drama series. Set in a futuristic world 15 years from now where there is no electricity, it will appeal to fans of the series ?Lost? and hit movie ?The Hunger Games.? It is produced by J.J. Abrams, director of the 2009 big-screen adaptation of ?Star Trek? and the forthcoming ?Star Trek into Darkness,? while 24 million viewers tuned in for the pilot.

The protagonist of the new show is 24-year-old Tracy Spiridakos, who was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and lived in Sparta from the age of 4 to 9 before her parents moved back to Canada, where they had a restaurant. She got her first TV parts straight out of acting school and landed her first film role in 2011 in ?Planet of the Apes.?

Thirty-nine-year-old Jason Mantzoukas is a comedian and writer whose first major film role was the mad nuclear scientist in Sacha Baron Cohen?s comedy ?The Dictator? earlier this year. With a career mostly centered around stand-up and a recurring part in TV comedy ?The League,? Mantzoukas has mostly been cast in smaller roles, though following ?The Dictator,? he is now slated to appear alongside Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in ?They Came Together,? a comedy scheduled for release in 2014.

Born in Toronto, 37-year-old Chris Diamantopoulos most recently appeared as Mo in the Farrelly brothers? ?The Three Stooges,? a slapstick comedy based on the lives of the legendary trio. Diamantopoulos has been performing on Broadway since the age of 9, most notably in ?The Full Monty? and ?Les Miserables,? while in more recent years has picked up a number of TV roles, such as in ?The Kennedys? (where he played Frank Sinatra), and this season alone will be seen in ?Arrested Development,? ?Community? and ?The Goodwin Games.? On the big screen, he is slated to appear alongside Matt Dillon in ?The Black Marks? and Dwayne Johnson in ?Empire State? next year.

Last but not least is Tonia Sotiropoulou, Greece?s very first Bond girl, who appears beside Daniel Craig in the latest 007 caper, ?Skyfall.? Sotiropoulou is 25 years old and was a model before she decided to try her hand at acting, landing one of the most coveted female roles in filmdom.

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