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<i>Zookeeper</i>: 5 Other Blue Collar Roles Kevin James Should Play

Over the course of his career, Kevin James has held down a variety of blue collar jobs where wacky things happen. His breakout role was as a delivery guy for a UPS-like company on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, who puts up with a crew of oddball buddies at work and an exasperating wife and father at home. James later went on to play a fireman that marries his best (male) friend in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and a mall cop who battles a gang of robbers Die Hard-style in Paul Blart: Mall Cop. His latest film, Zookeeper, casts him as... well, a zookeeper that discovers the animals under his care have the power of speech. So far this recipe of "blue collar job" + "wacky stuff" seems to be working out for him. After all, Queens ran for nine seasons and both Chuck and Larry and Paul Blart grossed over $100 million. With that in mind, here are five pitches for James' next big-screen outing. Oh and as an FYI to his agent: We accept royalty payments by cash, check or PayPal.

Doris Jones: Lunch Lady
Synopsis: After losing his job as a line cook at a ritzy restaurant for accidentally spiking the duck pâté with Axe Body Spray, Sammy "Two Spoons" Schlitzowsky (James) finds himself blacklisted from every eatery in town. That's when his mother (Kathy Bates) presents him with an offer he can't refuse: she'll be retiring as the local elementary school's lunch lady and has the power to choose her replacement. So Sammy raids her wardrobe, dons a wig and douses his face in makeup to become... Doris Jones, lunch lady extraordinaire. Having never cooked exclusively for children though, his/her initial menu gets poor marks from the student body, who show up expecting chicken nuggets and hot dogs only to be served tuna tatare and coq au vin. Their complaints means that the uptight principal (Tom Cavanagh) starts watching Doris extra closely. Meanwhile, the town's budget-slicing mayor (William Fichtner) is about to jam through a bill cutting hot school lunches entirely and instead filling the cafeteria with corporate-owned vending machines. As Doris/Sammy attempts to save the lunch lady tradition, he also finds himself falling for a charming 4th grade teacher (Liv Tyler) who suffers from terrible food allergies.
Written By: David Mamet
Directed By: Sam Raimi

Darby O'Toodle: Chimney Sweep
Synopsis: London, 1894. Fresh off the boat from County Cork, Ireland, Darby O'Toodle (James) is eager to make a better life for himself and his sickly fiancée Erin (Helena Bonham Carter), who suffers from gaping mouth syndrome. But work isn't easy to come by and Darby is soon reduced to stealing roof tiles to pay for their daily gruel. While four stories up atop a London townhouse, he happens to bump into chimney sweep Phineas Foster (Jamie Bell), an orphan who is a veteran of the trade despite his young age. Foster agrees to take O'Toodle on as an apprentice, but decides that he should also act as the face of their operation as clients would be more likely to hire an older gent. Naturally, the two independent-minded men butt heads at first, resulting in lots of farcical misunderstandings and pratfalls. But eventually the two bond and Phineas even starts to think of Darby as a kind of father figure. Then, while cleaning the chimney of one of London's most prominent bankers (Billy Connelly), Darby discovers a stunning piece of information that sheds light on his young boss's real origins. Will he work up the courage to reveal what he's found? And would anyone even believe him if he did?
Written By: Tom Stoppard
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

Chip Smarties: Bag Boy
Synopsis: When the seemingly fair-minded manager (Mark Harmon) of the Pounds Away organic superstore initially hired Chip Smarties (James) as a bag boy, he assured him that the position was a stepping stone to greater things. Ten years later, Chip is still bagging groceries with no glimpse of a promotion in sight. Meanwhile, the manager's sadistic son (Dane Cook) is zooming up the company ladder and his main goal in life is making Chip's daily existence a living hell. Then one afternoon, Chip finds himself bagging groceries for the most beautiful woman he's ever seen (Megan Fox). He's so verklempt that he forgets to bag the eggs she says she's buying for her nephew's Easter Egg hunt. He runs out to the parking lot only to see her sleek Porsche peeling out onto the street. Since his piece of shit car is in the shop, Chip asks his stockboy pal Juan (Luis Guzman) to give him a ride in the sidecar of his motorcycle. Tracking her address through the credit card she used at the store, they pull up to a mansion on the outskirts of town and discover that the "Easter Egg Hunt" is actually an Eyes Wide Shut-style masked orgy. Determined to ensure that his customer is satisfied, Chip dedicates himself to finding a way inside by any means necessary. But what he sees may haunt him for life. Co-starring Christopher Lee as the Grand Exalted Master and Judi Dench as the head of security.
Written By: Mindy Kaling
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

Buster Boblawsky: Gym Attendant
Synopsis: While staying late one night to wipe the sweat off exercise equipment on the orders of his boss (Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his triumphant return to the screen), Muscle Mania's laziest, most out-of-shape gym attendant Buster Boblawsky (James) is amazed to learn that one of the elliptical trainers has the power to turn its users invisible if set to the exact right program. As a guy with plenty of scores to settle, Buster uses his newfound abilities to play practical jokes on his many enemies from the gym's owner to the successful car dealer that used to torment him in high school (William Zabka). But after rescuing a damsel in distress (Emelie de Ravin) from a mugger, he gets hooked on saving people instead of screwing them over. Looking to overachieve for the first time in his life, Buster sets his sights on taking down the city's biggest crime syndicate, headed up by a rock n' roll enthusiast (Jack Black) who may have special powers of his own.
Written By: Mark Boal
Directed By: Katherine Bigelow

Javi Johansson: Call Center Technician
Synopsis: In a powerhouse dramatic turn, James stars as Javi Johansson, a call center technician that works the midnight shift. All alone on Christmas Eve, he finds himself speaking to a possible suicide victim (voiced by Nicolas Cage) who swears he's about to fire two bullets into his skull. As Javi talks him down, the two start sharing some highly personal stories about their childhoods. Javi even finds himself revealing what he's never told anyone before: that when he was 8 years old, he swiped another kid's set of vintage Masters of the Universe action figures and traded them to a collector for packs of Voltron trading cards. That's when the caller lowers the boom -- he was that other kid. And he's still pissed off. So pissed off that he's set up a deadly gauntlet inside the call center that Javi is going to have to navigate through if he wants to celebrate Christmas morning alive...
Written By: Kevin Williamson
Directed By: Takeshi Miike

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