This weekend saw the first film production in history given a permit to shoot inside the famed Acropolis in Athens. My Life In Ruins, produced by Playtone, stars Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame as a guide leading tourists through Greek archeological sites.

The team shot in the Acropolis this weekend and will wrap in Athens later this week. The production also shot in Olympia and Delphi. The seven-week shoot started in Spain, with Kanzaman SA serving as Spanish co-producer.

Donald Petrie directs the film which also stars Richard Dreyfuss, Rita Wilson, Alistair McGowan, Ian Ogilvy, Rachel Dratch, Harland Williams, Caroline Goodall. The local actors involved include Alexis Georgoulis, whom Petrie hailed jokingly as 'the new George Clooney.'

Nathalie Marciano and Michelle Chydzik of 26 Films are producing with Playtone's Gary Goetzman. Playtone's Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are executive producing the $20m project. Echo Bridge Entertainment is handling international sales.

Mike Reiss, who worked on The Simpsons Movie, wrote the original screenplay, which Vardaloshelped fine tune.

The multi-national crew includes DoP Jose Luise Alcaine. Some staffers were provided by Greek productions services outfit Protasis. Harmonia Ltd's Jenny Panoutsopoulou was key in initiating the process to secure permits at the archeological sites.

Rita Wilson and Nia Vardalos, both of Greek origin, helped lobby the local authorities for shooting permission. The only permitted scene ever shot on the site was Francis Ford Coppola's Zoe For Zoe (part of New York Stories) in 1989 at the very entrance of Acropolis Hill.

Greece was more popular for filming in the 1950s and 1960s for US films such as Boy On A Dolphin and The 300 Spartans. More recent films shooting in Greece include For Your Eyes Only, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and Playtone's other recent production of Mama Mia, which shot briefly in Skiathos.

The Greek government was eager to get the nation on the map again for US productions as foreign shoots in Greece have declined in recent years due to lack of financial incentives and infrastructure.

The Hellenic Film Commission Office, recently created by the Greek Film Centre, helped My Life In Ruins navigate the necessary paperwork. Also, the Ministry of Tourism enticed the production by footing the cast and crew's hotel bills in the area, for a sum of $200,000.

Other local support came from Hollywood Entertainment's Kostas Piperas, who aquired the film for local distribution at development stage. Hollywood is believed to have put down more than the $550,000 it did for Oliver Stone's Alexander.