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HERE COMES THE BOOM

About The Film
"Here Comes the Boom is a hero story of a guy at a failing school who has lost his inspiration, and through this journey becomes inspired as a teacher," says Kevin James, who co-writes, produces, and stars in the new comedy Here Comes the Boom. "Through him, other people become inspired, especially at the school. He's an everyman who gets the rare opportunity to step it up."

"It's a Kevin James comedy, so of course there are big laughs, and since it's set in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), it has great action, but it's also an inspirational story with a lot of heart," adds Frank Coraci, the director of the film.

James created the character of Scott Voss, a high school biology teacher who gets into the Octagon when his school's music program is threatened. "He's not fighting for himself - he's doing it for another teacher and the kids," says producer Todd Garner.

Scott is fighting for what many believe to be the heart and soul of the school: the music program, led by Marty Streb (played by Henry Winkler). The program becomes the latest item on the chopping block for a school facing tough economic times - and for Scott, it's a cut too far. He'll raise the money to save the program - even though the figure needed is, for a high school teacher's meager salary, astronomical. "Somehow, Scott gets it into his mind that he's going to fight for the kids and save the music program - even though it's going to cost $48,000," says James.

But even people who are in Scott's corner think he's nuts when he reveals his plan to raise the money: he will get into the cage as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter and donate the prize money to save the program.

Why Mixed Martial Arts? "I've always been a fan," says James. The sport, combining various fighting techniques - boxing, kickboxing, karate, jiu-jitsu, judo, myriad kinds of wrestling, Muay Thai, and more - into an exciting, wild fight, now ranks as one of the world's most popular sports. "I became a fan back in 1993 when Bas Rutten was fighting, and I've watched every event I could since then. I've been able to meet a lot of the fighters - not only are they great people, but family people, guys you might not expect would be battling it out in a cage or in the Octagon."

"Scott is inspired by the passion that others have for music - particularly Marty and one of his students, Malia. He wants to do something because he sees how important music is to them," says executive producer Jeff Sussman. "As Scott goes on, and the challenges get bigger and bigger, he gets more and more committed. The kids need him, and he is going to fight for them every step of the way."

As Garner points out, it's a journey that reaps rewards he never expected. "All of the aspects of Scott's quest - from competing in a sport to participating in something bigger than himself - bring his life into focus. Scott has lost his way a bit over the years and become apathetic, but competing and using the money to save the music program gives him new energy and a new drive."

"Scott Voss has a long, hard and sometimes comical journey from the classroom to the Octagon," says Coraci. "He starts his training and just gets destroyed; in his first fight he gets knocked out in two seconds flat, but that doesn't stop him. This is a story about having heart, working hard and not giving up. It's a step-by-step progression and by the end of the movie, when Scott gets to the UFC, it's both believable and inspiring that this regular guy made it there."

Just one question - could Kevin James pull off a performance as an MMA fighter? "The reason I wanted to do the movie is that I love the sport," says James. "I love the athletes - I think it's great that they can fight and then, when it's over, they can hug, be buddies, grab a beer. And we came up with a story that I thought went well with that, one that showed how an ordinary guy could fit into that world. All of that inspired me to get into shape so it was believable that I could actually do it. Well, maybe not perfectly believable - we always wanted the movie to be about an ordinary guy who throws himself into an extreme situation. I had to get to the point that I could fight in the Octagon, but also live a normal life and enjoy cheesecake."

"Kevin is the perfect guy to take that on," says Garner, who reunites with James for their third film together. "Not only is he a great comedian, he is an unbelievable physical comedian. As a sport, MMA is so technical, so precise, and not about brute strength. Kevin has trained for so long - first, for himself, because he enjoys it, and later for the movie, and he is really talented at it. He spent 14 months training, losing weight and eating right. He's always been athletic and he was a wrestler in high school, so he has that discipline. It was a tough training regimen."

Adds Coraci, "Both Kevin and I grew up on Long Island and wrestled for our high schools. The same obsessive dedication it took in high school to cut weight and train night and day is the same dedication that Kevin brought to his role. Thankfully, since I'm behind the camera, I got to skip the cutting weight part."

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