KU Student to Play Young Phog Allen in Jayhawkers Movie

July 30, 2012

Nathan Peterson, a student at the University of Kansas, will play legendary KU basketball coach Forrest “Phog” Allen as a young man in the upcoming movie Jayhawkers.

Peterson, who grew up in Topeka, came to KU after earning an Associate of Arts degree at Johnson County Community College. He is a graduate of Topeka High School and the Topeka Collegiate School. He played the role of Chris Keller in the KU production of “All My Sons” last fall; he and the cast will be doing two more performances of the play in November at an international theatre festival in Shanghai.

“I have one year left at KU and plan on graduating with a degree in Theatre Performance and Communications,” Peterson said. “I am honored and excited to be playing the young Phog Allen in Jayhawkers, and I intend to continue pursuing opportunities to become a professional actor after graduation.”

“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 current KU basketball player Justin Wesley will portray KU Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain in the film. In addition, veteran character actor and KU graduate Kip Niven will portray Phog Allen; Blake Robbins (“Oz,” “The Office”) will play KU Coach Dick Harp, and Hollywood actor Jay Karnes, a 1989 KU graduate, will portray former KU Chancellor Franklin Murphy.

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.

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,” both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

For more info, visit www.facebook.com/JayhawkersMovie.