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Kevin James’s latest comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, may not be the runaway success of the previous film, but it’s found decent box office success, raking in $76 million worldwide so far. We’re used to seeing him as a schluby, bumbling everyman, but for his next role, James is up to something very different, playing a real life assassin, or at least someone mistaken for one.
Deadline reports that the star of such films as Here Comes the Boom and Grown Ups is set to headline The True Memoirs of an International Assassin. Jeff Wadlow, who helmed the superhero sequel Kick-Ass 2, will direct. The script comes from Jeff Morris, and landed on a recent edition of the Black List, an annual collection of the best, as-yet-unproduced scripts floating around Hollywood. That right there is enough to indicate that this movie, if handled in the right way, could be something new for Kevin James.
Looking over his resume, there aren’t many Kevin James movies or projects that I can honestly say I’m a big fan of, but that said, there’s something I’ve always kind of liked about the guy. It’s hard to put my finger on it precisely, but I tend to root for him and maintain the hope that he’ll make a good movie. (Pixels looks like it could be fun.) On paper at least, True Memoirs certainly sounds like a drastic departure from his usual goofy, clumsy doofus, and this could prove to be a new look for the comedian that allows him to break out of his standard role.
The story follows an accountant and burgeoning author, to be played by James, whose fictional book about an international hitman is mistakenly published as nonfiction. In an attempt to escape his newfound celebrity, or infamy as the case may be, he travels to Belize, only to become embroiled in an actual assassination plot. Tossed into the deep end as he is, he has figure out how to survive and save the day, much like his protagonist, who has the awesome name Colt Rodgers.
While this has the potential to be something different for James, a part outside of his wheelhouse, it’s also easy to picture this as another in a line of Kevin-James-falling-down-bumbling-his-way-through-a-precarious-situation movies. Concept wise, it’s a little like the Paul Blart movies, where a normal guy finds himself out of his depth in harrowing, dangerous situation. Hopefully they tone down the ridiculous elements and play this one, not necessarily straight, but straighter than James usually does.
There’s no word on a schedule for The True Memoirs of an International Assassin yet, but the foreign rights are being shopped around at Cannes, which begins soon, so the ball will likely get rolling before too long.