James will portray Joey Williams, a father of four who played for the Lambuth University football team in 2003 alongside his 21-year-old son. He had been recruited out of high school to play football at Tennessee Tech but injured his left knee during his senior season.
“Heaven Is for Real” screenwriter Christopher Parker will write the script. DeVon Franklin, whose producing credits include “Miracles From Heaven” and “Heaven Is for Real,” is producing with Todd Garner, Lisa Kors and James.
“Heaven Is for Real” has topped $23 million for Sony in its first eight days of release. Carl Rogers is overseeing “44” for Alcon.
Kors purchased the life rights for Williams’ story after she heard a National Public Radio story about him.
Alcon saw major success from “The Blind Side,” based on the real-life story of NFL player Michael Oher, who overcame an impoverished upbringing. The film grossed $255 million domestically with Sandra Bullock winning a best actress Oscar for her portrayal as Oher’s legal guardian.
James has specialized in comedies following his breakout in the sitcom “The King of Queens.” His big screen credits include “Pixels,” “Hitch” and the “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and “Grown Ups” franchises.
Jones is represented by WME and Schreck Rose Dapello & Adams. Parker is repped by Gersh and Writ-Large. Williams is repped by Original Artists.
The news was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.