Culver City, CA - September 14, 2010 - Kevin James is attached to play the lead role in an untitled feature for Sony Pictures, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. The movie focuses on a physics teacher whose school is facing drastic budget cuts. In order to earn money to save his best friend's job and the music program that is important to his students, he moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter ultimately leading to a fight in the UFC.
The film, which may begin production early next year, will be a Hey Eddie Production and produced by Kevin James and Todd Garner. Jeff Sussman will serve as executive producer. Allan Loeb is in negotiations to write the screenplay.
The announcement follows the successful partnerships between James and the studio on the comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which Garner and James produced along with Happy Madison and took in more than $146.3 million in North America in 2009, as well as this summer's blockbuster Grown Ups. James also stars in Sony/MGM's upcoming comedy Zookeeper opposite an all-star voice cast headed by Sylvester Stallone, Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte and Cher, with Garner and James producing along with Happy Madison. James has been long associated with Sony's film and television business dating back to his hit, long-running television series "The King of Queens" and his first major film role starring opposite Will Smith in the blockbuster comedy Hitch.
Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said "We've had huge success with Kevin and love this idea for him."
James stars next in Ron Howard's feature The Dilemma, along with Vince Vaughn. The comedy was also written by Allan Loeb. Belgrad will oversee development at the studio along with Sam Dickerman.