Facebook Twitter



Before they build their own Magic Kingdom, Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway will play in the home of the Hot Dogs.

O'Neal, the NBA rookie of the year last season with the Orlando Magic, and his soon-to-be teammate Hardaway are among a star-studded cast of actors and athletes who have unleashed Hoosier Hysteria on this tiny town.Nearly 10,000 tourists are expected in Frankfort - population 15,168 - while film crews shoot scenes for Nick Nolte's latest movie, "Blue Chips," the story of a coach trying to revive a college basketball program.

"This is probably the most exciting week ever in Frankfort," Mayor Harold Woodruff said Tuesday.

It's hoops, not Hollywood, that excites the locals in basketball-happy Indiana. Nolte and co-star Mary McDonnell, who appeared in "Dances With Wolves," have been overshadowed. The main attractions are O'Neal and recent NBA first-round picks Hardaway, Calbert Cheaney, Bobby Hurley and Greg Graham.

Also scheduled to play in the four-game filming from Thursday through Monday are Matt Nover and Chris Reynolds, teammates of Cheaney's and Graham's on last season's Indiana team.

Last spring, Nolte visited Indiana to learn from Hoosier coach Bob Knight. Knight and Kentucky coach Rick Pitino will have parts in the movie.

Filming will include four complete games in the high school gym, Case Arena, home to the Frankfort Hot Dogs. For the movie, the 30-year-old facility has been transformed into the "Dolphin Dome," home of fictitious Western University.

Paramount will give away free hot dogs, soda and peanuts at the games. The arena holds about 5,100, and all four sessions are sold out.

Visitors began piling into Frankfort, about 50 miles northwest of Indianapolis, over the holiday weekend. Woodruff estimated the influx has increased by about 15 percent daily.

The 27-member police force has been working lots of overtime directing traffic and providing security.

After filming in Frankfort through July 15, the scene shifts to New Orleans before returning to French Lick, the hometown of Larry Bird, for a parade July 24.