Katie Hayek had a good feeling about the audition. The casting process for "The Mighty Macs" started on the basketball court, and the five-nine, Lancaster-born actress had just finished playing guard for University of Miami on a full basketball scholarship.
Shortly after landing the role, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting white blood cells.
"That was just so bittersweet. I was hoping Tim would keep me on the cast and in the movie," Hayek said.
In fact, producer-director Tim Chambers did more than keep her in the movie. He moved her scenes forward in the shooting schedule. On-camera, she wore a wig over her full head of hair, in anticipation of the effects of chemotherapy.
Hayek is in her fourth year of remission as she prepares for the movie to open in 1,000 theaters, including local ones, on Oct. 21.
The Mighty Macs tells the story of Immaculata University's unlikely ascendance to basketball greatness in the 1970s. There is a red-carpet premiere Friday night, Oct. 14, at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.