Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 hasn’t yet hit theaters, and the former King of Queens star is already dreaming up the film’s third installment. The Miami Herald caught up with James at his recent star unveiling ceremony at Miami’s “Walk of Fame” at Bayside Marketplace, and he shared a few exclusive tidbits. The movie opens Friday.
In this film, Paul Blart has to save the day when some bad guys start trouble at a security convention. What’s next for him?
I have to keep kicking it up a notch each time and go at it big style. It could be like a Bad Boys meets Paul Blart type of thing. I don’t want to keep things parallel because the trick is to keep the level of excitement on the up rise!
The scenes in which Paul rides around on the Segway are fan favorites. New movie, new monster! What did it require for you to master your Segway skills this time around?
I’m not sure I mastered it. Let me tell you, it’s way harder than it looks. The design was horrible to ride, and I hated it. It was heavier and out of control so yeah, sometimes it was a little scary, and I felt like it definitely wasn’t happy with me being on it. It was a crazier model, and I wanted it to look bad-ass so it’s got all this stuff like Kevlar or whatever, and I had my share of little accidents and run-ins on set. I’d say when riding a Segway it’s important to remember to not get overconfident because it might turn on you.
The Segway wasn’t the only revamped aspect of “Mall Cop 2.” There were also new cast members. How was it working with Mexican telenovela star Eduardo Verastegui?
It was wonderful! We met through mutual friends and got to talking. He’d never done comedy and was questioning if he could do it at first, but he did a great job, played it straight and was the real great hero, adding comic relief. I tried to give him some tips and help him along but he didn’t need much because he’s a great actor.
Leah Remini, your former on-screen wife on “King of Queens.” recently Tweeted that seeing you made her realize how much she misses working with you. Can you picture her in “Mall Cop 3,” maybe?
Oooh, that’s a good idea! I didn’t think of that. Maybe I gotta bring her back and do that or I got to work with her on some capacity because she’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with.
You were honored with a star on the Miami Walk of Fame and with a key to the city. What does Miami represent for you?
It’s one of the prettiest cities in the world. I moved to [Delray Beach] Florida because I just love it, the water, the buildings, the Art Deco. The people in Miami are so energetic and fun, and I feed off of that. Like for example I was at Univision’s Despierta America, and I’m there talking with my horrible accent trying to say a lot of stuff in Spanish, and everyone was just going crazy and so happy! By the way, I love the food. Cuban sandwiches, Italian food … the works.
You helped present a special award to Bayside Marketplace’s security director, Elder Paniagua. Were there any real-life mall cops who inspired you?
Yes, in the first movie I shadowed a few mall cops, following them around and seeing what their lives were like. Do they have to take some of the work home with them? That type of stuff. Auxiliary cops, security cops — they have no weapons and sometimes not much training, and it can be scary for them. There can be a holdup or takeover, and they’re the ones who are on the scene and are the first to respond so I definitely have a lot of respect for them and for the work they do.
DAYSI CALAVIA ROBERTSON