Here Comes the Boom tells the story of Scott Voss, a high-school biology teacher who goes to the mat — literally, by competing in mixed martial arts events — for his school’s music program when it is threatened by cutbacks. Kevin James plays Voss; he also cowrote and produced the film.
“I’ve always been a fan [of mixed martial arts],” says James. “The reason I wanted to do the movie is that I love the sport. 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.”
To train for his role, James worked with a number of real MMA trainers who taught him each of the different disciplines he would need to show onscreen. “Ryan Parsons, the film’s fight consultant, organized all of my training,” James explains. “We went with guys like Danny Perez, who’s a professional boxer; Mel Menor, a Thai kickboxer; and Jason Lambert, who also played my double in the movie.”
“We treated preparing for the movie as a fight camp,” says Parsons. “Kevin sparred with world champions in boxing and kickboxing. I mean heavy sparring — he had real experience. He dove in and treated it as if he was going to have an actual fight.”
Perhaps James’ proudest moment during training was when he knocked out trainer Menor. “We were working out in a hotel banquet room — we were on the road and that was the only place we could do it,” James says. “We were mixing it up and I went for a hip throw and I accidentally landed all my body weight on Mel. He’s a little smaller than me, and he went out for a second. It was an accident, but I’ll take the knockout.”
Here Comes the Boom is available starting Feb. 5 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
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