Mall cop Paul Blart, better known as [movieperson id=”31056″]Kevin James[/movieperson], is trading in his security uniform for boxing trunks. The actor is all set to go another round with Sony — after “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Grown-Ups” and 2011’s “The Zookeeper” — for a mixed martial arts movie.
James will star in the as-yet-untitled feature as a physics teacher who decides to moonlight as a mixed martial arts fighter when the school he works for faces budget cuts, Deadline reports. Whatever his initial intentions are, the main character proves talented enough to land a gig as a fighter in the UFC.
Sony is reportedly fast-tracking the film to shoot next year, presumably for a 2012 release. James will also produce with Todd Garner (“Blart” and “Knight and Day”), and the script comes from Allan Loeb (“The Switch”). The actor also has a role in another Loeb-scripted comedy, early 2011 release “The Dilemma,” directed by Ron Howard and starring Vince Vaughn, Winona Ryder and Channing Tatum alongside James.
“The Zookeeper” opens next summer, starring James as the titular caretaker, an overweight, lonely guy who decides to get out into the world and meet someone. Seeing this, the animals at the zoo he so loves reveal their great secret — they can talk — and, in doing so, teach their friend how to get his groove on. Rosario Dawson stars as the live-action female lead. The film also features the voice talents of Sylvester Stallone, Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, Cher and others.
Loeb has been busy promoting a pair of 2010 releases that he scripted, the Jason Bateman/Jennifer Aniston-starring rom-com “The Switch” (which he also produced) and the soon-to-be-released long-awaited sequel “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” In addition to “The Dilemma,” Loeb also worked or is working on the upcoming Sandler/Aniston comedy “Just Go With It,” actioner “Protection” and high-profile reboot/remake “Escape From New York.”
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