September 6, 2011
Kevin James is the Love-Struck "Zookeeper"
CComic leading man Kevin James stars in Columbia Pictures’ wild comedy “Zookeeper” as the kindhearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes who's beloved by the zoo animals. Finding himself more comfortable with a lion than a lady, Griffin decides the only way to get a girl in his life is to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job. The animals, in a panic, decide to break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk! To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship – animal style.
“This role was made for Kevin James,” says director Frank Coraci. “I’ve been watching him for years and he’s always made me laugh, on ‘The King of Queens,' in `Hitch' and in `I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.' He makes comedy his own – loveable, very original comedy. He reaches all ages across the board, so I think this movie is his kind of movie.”
James, who co-wrote, produced, and stars in the film, plays a zookeeper at a crossroads in his life. “Griffin takes a lot of pride in his job, but after flaming out in his latest relationship, he thinks he’s got to make a clean break and move on. But the animals think he’s the best zookeeper they’ve ever had – they can’t risk losing him. So that’s when they reveal they can talk – it’s risky for them, because things tend not to go well for them when people know they can talk, but they’re in dire straits. They have no other choice.
“As we were writing the screenplay, we started working with how funny the animals could be, and that was exciting,” shares James. “But it also felt like it was a really rich story – of course, there’s a lot with the animals, but because of the Cyrano-ish story, there’s also a story outside of the animals that blends in very nicely. All together, I thought these elements added a different feel to the movie.”
In the film, Griffin’s best friend ends up being Bernie, the gorilla who has been isolated and sidelined due to the mistaken perception that he is dangerous. “This is my first buddy comedy in which my buddy outweighs me, so that makes me feel very happy,” James explains. “I can throw them all the same stuff I’ve been receiving over the years: ‘I wouldn’t be hitting craft services now if I were you.’ It’s nice to turn the tables.”
It can be a challenge, acting opposite an animatronic gorilla, James adds. “At times, he can’t see and he runs square into a wall,” he laughs. “It’s all part of the game.”
“Every day on this movie was the best day,” says James. “I got to work with a great cast – everyone was so funny and really raised my game. And even after we were done shooting, it’s great to go into the editing room and see things come together, see the animals actually start to talk, and develop those relationships.”
Last year, Kevin James starred in the feature film “Grown Ups” along with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider. Previously, he starred opposite Adam Sandler in the 2007 hit comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.”
James broke into the film world in 2005 in Columbia Pictures’ “Hitch,” starring opposite Will Smith. He is currently on location in Massachusetts shooting “Here Comes the Boom.”
Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 21, “Zookeeper” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.sonypictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.
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