I am a big Kevin James fan. The King of Queens is an all-time fave, an underappreciated sitcom that makes me laugh out loud to the point of embarrassment. Leah Remini, Jerry Stiller, Patton Oswalt — and of course Kevin James as Doug Heffernan — were pitch perfect in their roles. Maybe it’s because I’m from Queens and recognize not only the streets that were showcased in scene transitions but also the characters and their working-class sensibilities, but I still catch episodes regularly in syndication.
It’s always interesting to see what happens to actors after a long run on a TV series. Do they come back with another one, like Bob Newhart or Ted Danson? Or do they make the transition to film, like Will Smith? And, now, Kevin James.
James had a run of $100 million+ hits right out of the box: Hitch, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Paul Blart: Mall Cop. And now he has Here Comes the Boom: a Rocky-esque heart-warmer about a teacher who rediscovers his passion for teaching by raising money for a soon-to-be-canceled music program … in the MMA arena. (The music teacher whose job is on the line is yet another TV star, albeit of an earlier generation, the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler.)
Timothy Dalrymple landed an interview with James over at his Philosophical Fragments blog and got the star to open up about … his Catholic faith.
I’m a Catholic. Faith has always been a part of my life. There have been times in my life when I’ve gone away from the faith, then come back, but I’ve grown to realize that it’s really the reason why we’re here, the reason why we were created. I’m a strong believer in it, and it’s helped me in many areas of my life.
And what about real-life MMA fighters?
Oh, man. Faith plays a HUGE part for the fighters I’ve met, following the sport. I became a fan of the sport back in 1993, and as I grew to know these people and these fights, to see them and work out with them, it wasn’t even the fighting so much that impressed me. They seem like gladiators going at each other in a cage — but they’re real people. Some of them are fighting to put food on the table for their children, or they’re fighting for the money to care for a sick grandmother, all sorts of reasons.
The Bible says that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. That’s really what we wanted to show in this movie. That’s exactly what the character does. You don’t have to hit people over the head to make sure they get it.
In the fighting world, I see it all the time. I know how much prayer and a strong relationship with God is needed, and they rely on it.
Here’s hoping James draws Rocky-like box office. Until it opens (October 12), I leave you with the Doug and Carrie song: