EXCLUSIVE: Kevin James is back in business with The Zookeeper director Frank Coraci. Coraci is set to direct the untitled mixed martial arts picture that James will make his next star vehicle for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Deadline revealed the film when it first took shape last fall, with James playing a physics teacher who moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money and save the music program his students love. He makes it all the way to the UFC.

SPE was eager to be back in business with James after Paul Blart: Mall Cop turned into a sleeper hit, and The Zookeeper tested so high that Sony slotted the film for released on July 8, 2011.

Allen Loeb wrote the MMA film, and James is producing with Todd Garner. Coraci makes his second film with James after teaming with Adam Sandler on such films as The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy and Click.