Kevin James is Too Much of "An Idiot" to Have Beaten Chavez, May Eventually Cast Love Interest with a Skin Disease
His 2011 film, Zookeeper made nearly $17.5 million in Germany alone, compared to the $80.4 million it made domestically. Paul Blart: Mall Cop made nearly a third of its foreign box office take in Germany. Kevin James is disproportionately popular in Germany and a handful of other seemingly unconnected countries, including Venezuela.
Lovers of democracy watched with heads bowed when Hugo Chavez beat Henrique Capriles Radonski in this week's election. So when we sat down with Kevin James a day later, we thought there had to have been another way. Could that way have been Kevin James?
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Kevin James is incredibly popular in Venezuela. Could he have beaten Hugo Chavez in the election and, if so, why didn't he run?
"Um, boy," James tells us, looking down into the high gloss of the table separating him from the reporters awaiting his answer, their stubby fingers sticky with the glaze from the junket's free pastries. "I think, you know what I think it is? I've got to sum it up this way: I'm basically an idiot."
He looks up at the nodding room and smiles. Then, perhaps demonstrating his lack of political acumen, he continues, "And I think that makes it very difficult to go into the political field. You know, when you're fooling people and go, 'I've got to shut up, I don't know what I'm talking about right here.' It's just not for me. I think pretty much anybody can beat me. I'm not very good. But I'm honest!"
"I knew the challenges of bringing her into this movie right away as a love interest where you go, 'Oh, no one's going to believe this. This is miserable.' And she was like, 'We can do this, we can do this.' And I was like, 'I don't want to do this. This is what I get blamed for in every movie I do.'"
Fortunately, James persevered. As star, co-writer and producer of the film, he ensured that his old friend Salma got the role, certain that she was the perfect person to bring winsome but tough school nurse Bella Flores to life on the big screen. James's only condition was that he could "ugly up" Salma for the part.
"And we tried but you can't do it," he said with a knowing exasperation. "You literally can't do it. She kept coming out in different outfits and I'm like, 'Go back again. Try another outfit and make her ugly.' You can put a potato sack on her and she looks great, she looks fantastic. But she's the funniest. I really enjoyed her and she was great for this part. She's the one who motivates me to be a better man and kind of put some effort into things."