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Kevin James has made a career out of wearing fake moustaches, smashing into things really hard, and being a bit more bearable than some other comedians who make movies. But the comedian’s next career step will see him star in more serious fare. Don't worry though, he's still going to be falling down quite a lot.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kevin James will star in the inspirational football drama 44, which is currently being developed by Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. 44 will tell the true story of Joey Williams, who, at the eponymous age returned to college to not just complete his degree but to also play college football, which had been his life-long ambition. Joey Williams soon found himself playing alongside and competing with his own college-aged son, who also just happened to be studying and playing football at the same university.
Comparisons to The Blind Side, which was the semi-biopic of Michael Oher that not only grossed over $309 million at the box office in 2009 but resulted in Sandra Bullock claiming the Academy Award For Best Actress, have already been made. Which is unsurprising, considering that Alcon Entertainment brought The Blind Side to the big-screen too.
Because of the success of The Blind Side, Alcon Entertainment was quick to pick up the life rights to Joey Williams, with producer Lisa Kors doing just that after she heard an NPR story on his college exploits. Since then, Christopher Parker has been hired to write the script for 44, which is a rather astute decision, as back in 2014 he wrote the $12 million budgeted Heaven Is For Real, which ultimately grossed over $100 million across the world.
Probably the biggest surprise regarding this project is the decision to cast Kevin James. Obviously this is a far cry from Kevin James’ most recent output. In 2015 alone the former King Of Queens actor found himself voicing Frankenstein in Hotel Transylvania 2, battling Pacman in Pixels, and reprising the role of Paul Blart in Paul Blart Mall Cop 2. Adam Sandler either produced or co-starred in each of these films with Kevin James. But, last April, there was a hint that he might be moving to more serious material when he starred in the fantasy war drama Little Boy.
However, Kevin James obviously has the physicality, stature, and everyman appeal to actually portray Joey Williams in an authentic and realistic manner. The big question is, though, does he have the nuance and dramatic heft to do his story justice? Obviously we’ll have to wait and see, but while it can hardly be compared to Adam Sandler working with P.T. Anderson on Punch Drunk Love yet, it’s still an interesting career choice from Kevin James. 44 will probably be released at some point towards the end of 2017. And, if it’s done correctly, we could even be faced with the previously unlikely case of a Kevin James Best Actor awards season push. If that's the case, then expect his career to get a lot more interesting soon after.