Actress to star opposite Kevin James in comedy

Rosario Dawson will star opposite Kevin James in romantic comedy “The Zookeeper,” with Happy Madison producing along with James, Todd Garner, Jeff Sussman and Jennifer Eatz.

Live actioner centers on zoo animals trying to teach the keeper their methods of dating and mating to help him win back the woman of his dreams. Leslie Bibb has also been signed to star.

Frank Coraci is directing from a screenplay by Jay Scherick and David Ronn, Kevin James, Rock Reuben and Nick Bakay. Shooting’s set to start in late summer in Boston with a July 23, 2010, release date.

Project reteams “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” producers James, Sussman and Garner (“Sorcerer’s Apprentice”). MGM won a bidding war last year for the “Zookeeper” spec, paying $2 million against $3 million, while the studio was ramping up a slate of homegrown projects.

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