LOUIS MANDYLOR (Eleas Theodosopoulos)

Attended Elwood High 1979-83

Louis Mandylor has been a Hollywood television and action film actor, producer and director for the past 20 years. He made more than 85 films between 1991 and 2020.He is best known for playing the role of Nick Portakalos in the Academy Award nominated smash hit comedy, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, (2002) and a guest appearance in “Friends” as Carl, Joey’s pretend twin brother. He has been nominated for numerous awards from the Action on Film International Film Festival, USA and won Best Actor in a leading role and Best Picture for the 2009 film “In the Eyes of a Killer”; which he also directed. He won Best Actor for his role in “White Rush” (2003) at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. He has acted in feature films alongside some of Hollywood’s luminaries including Sylvester Stallone, Micky Rourke, Harvey Keitel, Jeremy Renner and Minnie Driver. Louis was playing state league soccer for Melbourne Hungaria as a 16 year old, and was boxing at state level. He followed his brother, Hollywood actor, Costas Mandylor to the US in 1989 and his first film “Necessary Roughness”, a sport, comedy film was released in 1991.

Born Eleas Theodosopoulos, to Greek parents from the Peloponnese. Louis attended Elwood Central School, at the time when his parents owned the pizza restaurant “Sea Aquarium” on the Lower Esplanade , St Kilda.

He went on to Elwood High from Year 7 to Year 11. As a year 7 student with a Greek surname, he found the school yard was a pretty rough place, and was pleased he had his older brother Costas there to take care of him.

He made his acting debut on the Phoenix Theatre stage at Elwood High in Year 9 in “The Nutcracker”. He auditioned largely to escape a double period of English; was given the role and loved the experience.

Louis scored a “few As in year 7 and 8” and by Year 10 was playing professional soccer for Melbourne Hungaria and boxing at State league level, so it was hard to focus on schoolwork. After his schooling finished he played soccer for Heidelberg United FC in their 1988 State League championship team and also played five National League games in 1989.

During high school he continued to work at the pizza restaurant “Sea Aquarium”, which was next door to the well known and colourful “Bojangles”, on the Lower Esplanade St Kilda. Louis remembers that the popular New Zealand group Split Enz had one of their first live concerts at the restaurant, in summer in the mid 1970s. A few years after this, he started working in the kitchen, and then on the door, at the well known ”Billboard” nightclub in the city, which was owned by his Uncle. All of these activities meant that “his academic life took a turn for the worse”. In fact, he spent quite a lot of time standing outside the Principal’s office.

A talented artist, he realised that what he wanted to do was to complete Year 12 at the Moorabbin Tech Art School. He knew that this meant he had to pass Maths in Year 11; and with everything else going on in his life, this was going to be a challenge because he had “done nothing” all year.

He did end up getting into the Art School ; which was a “different experience”. He went on to qualify as a hairdresser at the John Morrey School of Hair in Melbourne, continued to play soccer professionally and to box.

He remembers his time at Elwood High fondly, and keeps in touch with a few students from his year level, one of whom met him in the US to attend a 2019 film premiere. Overall, Louis said the school “made (him) tough” and helped him learn how to live on his wits.

Interestingly, one of Louis’s most recent projects, with the formation of his production company Krakatau Films, is a feature film called “Elwood” (named after the suburb in which he grew up). The film is a noir fantasy thriller; set in a parallel world and stars Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead), Bruce Davison (X-Men) and Laura Harring (Mulholland Drive).

Louis left Melbourne in 1989 to join his brother Costas in Los Angeles, and the day after he had a test fight against a tough Mexican fighter and was pretty “beat up”, he auditioned for a role to cast an American football player. Louis said he went into that audition so sore he couldn’t talk and “underplayed everything.” They loved his “necessary roughness” and he got the job.

Even though he was offered a boxing contract as well, he decided the action film path was much more attractive and so began his long career in film.

With the set up of his own production company, Louis has spent time back in Melbourne and made the film “How to Rob a Bank in 10 Easy Steps” in 2013.The cast included his brother Costas. He would like to make one film a year in Australia.

His new Australian film, “Christmas Down Under”, with an impressive Australian cast featuring Louis, John Jarratt (Wolf Creek), Joanne Samuel (Mad Max), Justine Kacir (Home and Away) and Logie Award winner Paul O’Brien (Home and Away) will be released in time for Christmas 2020, and was shot on location in Australia.

His next project is a kind of homage to growing up in Elwood/St Kilda and centres around his memories of events happening in and outside the Bojangles nightclub. The film; “Bojangles: Peter the Greek” is a gritty homage to the bouncer at the nightclub, and recreates scenes that Louis witnessed as a young boy.

References

Wikipedia

GREEKCITYTIMES.COM

au.greekreporter.com

issuu.com (Vanilla Magazine 2012)