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Hey Kids, we had a lovely chat with ridiculously cuddly funnyman Kevin James.  Kevin dropped by to talk about taking career advice from Adam Sandler, looking like Will Smith, dangerous Segways and his new family comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

Dig it.

 

Kevin James - Paul Blart: Mall Cop

 

The Lady Miz Diva: Youíve found a niche representing the Everyman, how did that happen. Where did that come from?

Kevin James:  From this body.  I think when you have this body you wanna kinda just use it that way. Cos if you look at this body Ė I mean everybodyís not gonna look like Will Smith out here. I Am Legend, itís not like when you go across America and beyond. So I try to connect with the everyday everyguy.  What was exciting about this was bring them on the journey with me so they could see themselves in my character as opposed to watching like a James Bond thing where their looking at something they could never do.

 

LMD:  But that body does a lot of physical comedy and stunts in Paul Blart.

KJ:  Yes, that was the intent that I would really push my limitations. Iíve always loved to do physical comedy, so it was really fun to do. We thought it would be funny if did like a Die Hard type of thing the only problem is itís not Bruce Willis, itís me.

 

LMD:  Can you tell us about using the Segways, which are a major part of the film?

KJ:  We did a promotion for The King of Queens where I rode one.  They came in a taught me how to use it and I remember it being such a funny vehicle, I thought it would be great for this and then I found out that mall cops actually use these in a lot of malls.  It takes a little bit of practice.  I was very nervous, cos you have to really trust it, you lean forward and thatís how you kind of control it and lean back. Itís with your body weight, so you gotta be careful when your body weightís heavy.  I got very confident on it, I could whip around on it and then during the scene when the dog chases me, I hit a curb and I ate it hard.  So I got a little less confident after that.  Itís pretty nice in a mall, cos itís pretty smooth floors, it was fun.

 

LMD:  This was your first time producing a film, what was that like and what did you learn from it?

KJ:  Scary! Itís scary, not only producing but writing and putting myself out there and this was a movie where I said, ĎEventually, it was going to come out where youíd wanna take a chance and Iíd have to be alone without Will Smith, without Adam Sandler Ė Iím sick of carrying those guys! - on my own.í  So I just wanted to be sure that I could be my funniest and really, really connect with the material and really put something out there that everybody would have fun with and this one Iím proud to do it. I feel like this was it, definitely.

 

LMD:  Was it easy for you to separate those different roles from actor, to writer, to producer on set?

KJ:  Well, they all kinda tie-in together because when youíre on the set youíre writing and working and producing by saying we can bring certain things in.  I mean I drew the line, obviously, at budget Ė we didnít have a huge budget in this movie, either, it wasnít hat expensive Ė we really had to keep tight on schedule, so we had great line producers for that.  So I didnít worry about money so much, we just continued to work.  We worked at night, too, theyíd shut the mall down at night and weíd just have to keep shooting cos we didnít have the time to hang out.  It was tough, it was a very pressing schedule, but we got through it and it was okay.  It was fun.

 

LMD:  So where did this idea come from.

KJ:  It just came together. Adam {Sandler} was saying, ďYou know, you gotta get another movie and try to do one by yourself.  If you can come up with something great, letís do it.Ē  I just kept thinking I would be funny in a CHiPs way, like if Iím some kind of a motorcycle cop, or something in a uniform I could like swagger up, I thought it would be kind of funny.   Then I thought it would be funnier if I had less authority, then we thought about mall cops. I didnít want to make fun of them, cos I respect them. They have to enforce the law without any real weapons and no one respects them, you see how it is.  Itís a tough life and I think they need to be heard.

 

LMD:  Did you hang out at malls growing up?

KJ: Yeah, when I was growing up and my whole life Iíve been in malls. Thatís your nightclub when youíre a kid.  That was my social life, walking around in a pack of guys wearing my KISS black concert t-shirt and just checking out all the stores and looking at girls and thatís it. And then later on in life when I did stand-up comedy, thatís all you do.  Thatís how you bond with other comics when you go across the country you work for an hour or two hours a night and then the next day youíre off, so you just hit the local mall and you just walk around. Iíve always been involved with malls.

 

LMD:  Can you talk about the Raini Rodriguez, who plays your daughter in the film? You guys have a lovely chemistry.

KJ:  Raini Rodriguez?  Yeah, sheís unbelievable!  We found herÖ I guess they put her on tape, I think sheís from Texas and I just saw her and I knew right away.  I just said sheís got something and we connected and we flew her out to LA and she didnít even read.  We just talked for like, two minutes, and I was like, ďDone. This is it, sheís great. Ē She was fun, sheís gonna be big.  Yeah!

 

LMD:  Are you still doing stand-up comedy?

KJ:  Yeah, I do stand-up every once in a while. We were just up at Mohegan Sun. 

 

LMD:  How do you balance making movies with you stand-up career?

KJ:  It gets busy, you know, but the benefit of being able to do one and the other is they kind of go hand-in-hand, too, because whenever you have a break with writing a movie and you wanna get away Ė I never consider it work, doing standup is fun - and I work with Ray Romano a lot, weíll go together like a much less funny, less talented Don Rickles - Bob Newhart travel.  But we go to Vegas together, itís fun, weíll perform there.  I enjoy it, itís like a vacation for me, you know, itís really fun.

 

LMD:  Which is most gratifying?

KJ:  You know itís hard to say. It was pretty gratifying last night to watch the movie and watch kids and families, everybody enjoying it like they did.  And weíve seen it a few times, so the audience response itís really... Itís funny because I asked Sandler, heís been doing it for so long now, ďWhere do you get the excitement?  Where does it come from?  Itís almost like youíre immune to it, what drives you?Ē  We went to one of the screenings of his movie, Bedtime Stories, and we were standing outside of the theatre before we go in and he goes in last and sits behind everybody. You donít know how itís gonna test with kids.  And he was so nervous, it was like he was gonna be brought on to the Tonight Show for the first time. I was like, ďThis is it, man. This is what drives you.Ē He was just as nervous as I was and heíd done this so many times and he doesnít have to prove anything.  But Will was the same way too, cos he cares and thatís good!

 

LMD:  Since the Segway plays such a big part in the film, did they give you a free one?

KJ: They did give me one!  But itís the one I fell on and it broke, itís a little bent.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

January 7th, 2009

 

 

 

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Photos

Film Stills Courtesy of  Sony Pictures.

Exclusive photo of Kevin James by LMD

 

 

 

 

 

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