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Kevin James’ animal magnetism

Does the idea of Kevin James starring in a comedy alongside a bunch oftalking zoo animals sound ridiculous? Maybe a little corny? Kevin Jameshimself would agree with that.

Does the idea of Kevin James starring in a comedy alongside a bunch of talking zoo animals sound ridiculous? Maybe a little corny? Kevin James himself would agree with that.



“I was immediately not into doing an animal movie,” he confesses. “It just felt so kinda goofy to me to do it, and then I started thinking about it more. If we could make it a great story where you didn’t need animals — they’re just kind of like buddies that could add to the film — I started getting more and more interested in it.”



That’s how the “King of Queens” star made his peace with starring in “Zookeeper,” in which he plays an animal lover who feels he must ditch the job he enjoys to impress an ex who is reconsidering him. Once the animals reveal they can talk, they coach James’ character on how to win his lady back.



The actor is pleased with the film, but working directly with the live zoo animals was another story.

“The bears were close to us and all I would do was plan my escape route,” he says. “Like, ‘I know the cameraman’s a smoker. I could push him in the way and then I’ll be back in my trailer watching “SportsCenter.”’ That’s the way I would plan it, and it was scary at times.”



The animals are voiced by some Hollywood juggernauts — Adam Sandler, Cher, Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Judd Apatow and Jon Favreau — all of whom, James says, were excited about the strength of the film’s script.



“They felt like it was a good movie and they jumped on board, and so it makes it easier for any character when you know who is playing that part,” he says about the process of acting with their vocal performances in mind.



One thing the star is also adamant about was his desire to make a family film.



“We just wanted it to be a funny, funny movie for everybody, where you can feel comfortable bringing your kids,” he says. “I’ve gone to movies with my kids and I‘m bored out of my skull.



There’s just no comedy for adults so I wanted something where it’s comedy for everybody.”

 
 
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