Kevin James Talks Fighting, Faith, and Making Movies for the Whole Family
Comedian Kevin James opens up to Beliefnet about the importance of education, why he loves Mixed Martial Arts fighting, and how he hopes his new movie can impact others.
BY: Stephen Russ
You always try to put a little bit of yourself in every character, I try to bring what’s unique about me into every character I play, but look, like most people in life, I’ve become complacent in my job, or whatever part of life. At home, in relationships, everybody becomes complacent and it’s about stepping back, waking yourself up, and saying “you know what, I’ve got to put a little effort into this and maybe I can make a difference.” That ripple effect can effect so many others you don’t even realize.
Part of your life experience in this character is that you have trained in MMA, what is something you’ve learned from that experience?
That I don’t want to do it professionally (laughs). It’s a tough, tough way to make a living, it really is, these guys are extremely dedicated athletes. I dedicated myself to get in shape to be realistic to the movie, but it’s really a hard life. It was a tough life for me, but if you love it and it doesn’t feel like work to you then who am I to say? It’s just not for me, but to find your dream you do what you do.
As you’ve moved forward in your career you’ve moved away from the edgier comedy to more family friendly films. What has led you in that direction?
Number one I want to do projects that hopefully, more and more, glorify God. I don’t feel like that means every movie I do I have to be playing an angel or a priest, or what have you (laughs), but the movies I do have to show that everybody’s faulted, we have to show good and evil. You can also just make people decide for themselves, you don’t have to be so heavy handed, and it being a good movie will show people this is the way you should be to be a good person. I want to slowly get away from the gratuitous stuff, and I never really found myself too much in it, but I just want to make better movies and expand my range with that. I also want to be comfortable with my children sitting there with me and be able to look back on my career and say I feel better about the choices I’ve made.
Tell me a bit more about your faith background.
I’m a catholic christian. My father was devout pretty much his entire life and we used to go to mass all the time, and there were times in my life where I kind of faded away and went on my own and stumbled a little bit, but as I get older and I have a family I realize the gift that he gave me through God to return and see the truth, it brings me back to realizing it’s the most important thing while we are spending our time on this earth. For me it’s important to continually learn and grow and know Him, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I still screw up, gosh, more than most I’m sure, but I will keep trying to right the ship.
What attracts you to making secular films over faith-based films?
It’s basically just how I want to live my life. When I see a movie like that that’s inspirational and it’s not too heavy handed and over the top where it’s preaching to you, that’s a turnoff, but when it’s done correctly and you have fun and you feel inspired, you feel emotional about things. Those are the movies that I’m moved by, so that’s what I want to do.