Sony Pictures has reached a new deal that will see King of Queens and Paul Blart: Mall Cop star Kevin James becoming a mixed martial arts fighter.
In the movie, James will play a physics teacher who decides to become an MMA fighter in an attempt to make some money and save the music program and his best friend’s job at the school he works at, which has decided to make some major budget cuts. Before long, James’ character finds himself fighting on the ultimate stage: the UFC.
Mixed Martial Arts has exploded into the spotlight over the last handful of years, and continues to grow at a rapid pace. Movies trying to take advantage of the sport’s popularity have been made, such as Never Back Down and Red Belt, but no comedies (which is what this is assumed to be) yet. It even makes a lot of sense for James to be starring in the movie; the comedic talent has been a huge fan and supporter of the sport and the UFC for a long time now, and getting to play around in that sandbox should be an exciting prospect for him.
The premise of the movie isn’t as crazy as it sounds, either. UFC superstar Rich Franklin was a high school math teacher in his home state of Ohio before deciding to pursue a fighting career, though it wasn’t in an attempt to save the school’s music program.
Sony is putting this currently untitled mixed martial arts movie on the fast track, hoping to begin production next year. The script is being written by Allan Loeb, who has previously penned movies like 21, The Switch, and the upcoming sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.