We may be about to be stripped of our snark cred, but we don't hate Kevin James. He's a decent enough actor, has some comic timing, and is a firmly likable screen presence. We do, however, hate virtually every film he's made: a cynical string of fatty-fall-over gags tied to the loosest possible plot you could think of. But with "The Zookeeper" failing to meet box office expectations (taking half of the gross of James' last vehicle "Paul Blart: Mall Cop"), the chubby funnyman may be heading for a change of tack, with the news that he's teaming up with Oscar nominee Emily Watson for an indie family drama.
Variety reports that James, Watson, Ben Chaplin, David Henrie ("The Wizards of Waverly Place") and newcomer Jakob Salvati are all attached to "Little Boy," a $24 million U.S/Mexico co-production directed by Alejandro Monteverde ("Bella"). The film is set in a small town during World War Two, and involves a troubled 8-year-old boy whose father has gone off to war, who is forced to deal with the cruelty of schoolteachers and contemporaries. It doesn't sound too exciting, but Watson in particular doesn't do any old shit, so we're hoping this could be more interesting than its premise, and it certainly marks something very different from James' other 2012 offering, Sandler Factory MMA comedy "Here Comes The Boom."
And the possibility exists that James may have a role in something even more intriguing. We've managed to get our grubby hands on the script for Charlie Kaufman's latest, "Frank and Francis," which has Jack Black, Nicolas Cage and Steve Carell already attached, and the Hollywood-set tale of a movie director feuding with a blogger has, in the script, a role for Kevin James -- playing, in true Kaufman style, Kevin James, as the star of film-within-the-film "Obese City," and then later as a presenter at the Academy Awards.
Of course, the fact that he's written into the script doesn't mean that he'll end up doing it, but it would be a bit of a boost to his street cred, as it were, so it'd be a good move if James, as seems probably by signing on to "Little Boy," wants to stretch himself a bit. We suppose it'll become clear as "Frank and Francis" moves closer to production.