The greenroom is packed with macho workout gear: boxing gloves, medicine balls, Pilates beds - a den of affliction surely awaiting some chiseled man of steel. Two assistants, dispatched to babysit me while we await the arrival of the Star, speak of their boss's muscle, intensity, and drive.
"He's very athletic, a very nimble guy," says one.
"I couldn't do a Pilates regime, but he does," coos another.
Just then, the big man walks in, a raging, animalistic, scale-smashing mass of flesh.
No, not Schwarzenegger. Not Stallone.
And I think, C'mon! Kevin James is on a fitness regimen? The guy I heard served McDonald's hamburgers at his recent wedding? Sure, he's undoubtedly dexterous in his career, juggling his long-running TV series, The King of Queens, with films like the recent hit Hitch, costarring Will Smith, and the upcoming Grilled, in which he and longtime friend and colleague Ray Romano star as door-to-door meat salesmen.That role makes sense. For James, a New York-bred comedian, is famous for his affinity for couch and chow, not weights and workouts. But he's also a former college football player and insists that he's now regularly consulting nutritionists, doing Pilates, and going ballistic in regular sessions with behemoths like Ultimate Fighting Champion Bas Rutten. "I'm infatuated with guys who fight in cages and stuff like that," James tells me.
Still, he's far from being a fitness fanatic. "I've gone up to 275 and I've gone down to 228," he says. "It depends on the time of year and if I'm hibernating or not. Like most people, I fight it. I'll go up and I want to get down, and other times I want to go back up. I want to be like the biggest guy to ever walk the face of the earth but still wear jeans. And when I'm big? Oh, I'm crazy. I can eat more McDonald's than you can imagine. I can do some scary numbers in food. I can eat like an animal."