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Was Kevin James Not the Original Genius Behind Paul Blart: Mall Cop?

When we first learned of Paul Blart: Mall Cop's existence, we figured the idea for its premise was something that only Kevin James (and maybe Jody Hill) would ever publicly take credit for. Astonishingly, we were wrong — a crew member who admits to having worked on Mall Cop (he/she declines to give a name, for obvious reasons) e-mailed Indiewire yesterday about an on-set rumor that the movie's screenplay may have been stolen goods.

I was on the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” crew. Some stuff happened on set that now makes more sense and I wanted people to know about it. During production at the Burlington Mall in MA, the film’s title was mysteriously changed to “Untitled Kevin James Project” before being changed back to “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” a couple of weeks later. The story going around the set at the time was that a writer from New Hampshire was claiming that Kevin James stole his script which he apparently previously submitted to Happy Madison and that he also registered the title with the Motion Picture Association preventing Columbia-Sony from using it. One guy there who was definitely in a position to know said the studio was so shocked when they read the scripts side-by-side that that they immediately sent a Sony bigwig to NH with an apology and a check to “work it out” in typical Hollywood fashion. I also remember hearing that the writer was a lawyer and was really giving the producers a hard time. Kevin James looked pretty sheepish for a few days too.

Earlier: The Blart: Mall Cop Defines a Genre

Should 'Paul Blart' Be Arrested For Stealing? [Defamer]
“Paul Blart”: Script Stealer? [Indiewire]

Earlier: The Blart: Mall Cop Defines a Genre

Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures