22 Minutes With Lainie Kazan

Brigitte Quinn
April 20, 2018 - 9:43 am

In this installment of “22 Minutes,” 1010 WINS anchor Brigitte Quinn sits down with award-winning singer, film and Broadway actress, and Emmy-nominated television actress Lainie Kazan.

Kazan recently completed filming on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” which opens this weekend.

BQ: When the first one came out it was a little indie movie right?

LK: It’s interesting because we just filmed this little movie. I got a call from my agent saying there’s a little Greek girl who wrote a play, and it looks like they’re going to make it into a movie, so would you like to go to Tom Hanks’ office and read the script? So we went and had this fabulous read-through. And I didn’t hear from them for a year and then they called me and said we’re making a movie with a very limited budget. I said just count me in, I’m gonna do it. We became a family. We’re very close.

After fourteen years, Kazan said the cast is back in the sequel to the hit film, even including extras who were in the original.

BQ: I was really struck by your character, she’s shrewd. She helps Toula get what she wants and needs, right?

LK: She’s a mother, she wants the best for her daughter. She wants her to be happy. I love Nia’s writing, she’s a wonderful writer. It’s a beautiful film. It’s very funny, but the moments that are serious and dramatic are so touching.

BQ: Nia said in an interview there aren’t a lot of great roles written for women, that she felt like she had to write it. Is that a difficulty in Hollywood?

LK: I think so. Certainly for women of my age, it’s a really difficult place to be in life because there’s very little work for women over 60. I’m very lucky and I never forget it.

Kazan also spoke about her transition from singer to actress.

LK: My whole career was really as a singer and I grew as a singer and I did what I had to do. I think as I got better there was less and less work as a singer and I think I was at the height of my career. And I thought, ‘I need to be an actor.’ I studied acting. I was prepared, it wasn’t like I accidentally fell into the role. I got this role in Francis Coppola’s movie and that was really the beginning for me.

You can watch the full interview in the video above.

About Lainie Kazan:

Lainie Kazan is the embodiment of the word entertainer — an artist who has reached the pinnacle in virtually every area of performance. She has appeared in countless Broadway productions, films, and television series. Lainie currently is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Theater, Film, and Television at the University of California, Los Angeles.