KU Grad Jay Karnes to Portray Former KU Chancellor Murphy in Feature Film

July 26, 2012

Hollywood actor Jay Karnes will portray former KU Chancellor Franklin Murphy in the feature film drama “Jayhawkers.”

Karnes, a 1989 graduate of the University of Kansas, is best known for his role as Det. Holland “Dutch” Wagenbach on the TV series “The Shield.” He also has played recurring roles on other series, including Tyler Brennen on “Burn Notice,” Chris Bolling on “V” and ATF Agent Joshua Kohn on “Sons of Anarchy.” His other TV roles include appearances on “CSI: Miami,” “Criminal Minds,” “House M.D.” and “Body of Proof.”

“Jayhawkers,” written by KU Assistant Professor of Film Kevin Willmott and veteran Lawrence producer Scott Richardson, tells the story of how a small group of unlikely allies modernized college sports and changed a small Midwestern town, serving as a parallel to the Civil Rights movement that would transform the entire American society. Filming begins Aug. 15 in Lawrence.

Previously it was announced that veteran character actor and KU graduate Kip Niven will portray legendary University of Kansas basketball coach Forrest “Phog” Allen in the film. In addition, current KU basketball player Justin Wesley will portray KU Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. Blake Robbins (“Oz,” “The Office”) will play KU Coach Dick Harp.

Willmott, who will also direct the film, is the filmmaker behind critically acclaimed features “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” and “The Only Good Indian,” which both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The story follows the flamboyant Forrest “Phog” Allen, renowned as the Father of Basketball Coaching and one of the individuals responsible for making basketball an Olympic sport, as he recruits Wilt Chamberlain, perhaps the greatest player ever to wear the Kansas Jayhawk jersey. The Philadelphia phenom Chamberlain chooses KU over bigger colleges in bigger markets, hoping he can learn from the man who created the modern game.

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