By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated October 31, 2003 01:00 PM

Ben Affleck is set to star in the upcoming Disney film “Glory Road,” in which he will play retired University of Texas at El Paso basketball coach Don Haskins, the actor’s publicist, Ken Sunshine, tells the Associated Press.

The story will center on the NCAA championship in 1966, when Haskins, now 73, coached an all-black starting five against an all-white Kentucky team in the NCAA final. Texas-El Paso (then known as Texas Western College) won 72-65, and the victory was credited with opening the doors of universities across the nation to black athletes.

Antoine Fuqua, director of “Tears of the Sun” and “Training Day,” will direct the movie and shooting is expected to begin early next year, the El Paso Times reports.

“I’m just flattered that they want to do the movie at all,” the Hall of Fame coach said. “I’m happy for all the players on that team and for UTEP and for El Paso.”

The Affleck role comes not long after Disney pulled the plug on his movie “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” purportedly because of all the media attention from his “Gigli” flop and his relationship with Jennifer Lopez.

Meanwhile, in other casting news, Variety reports that former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss has finished her scenes for the horror movie “Alien 51,” in which Fleiss, 37, played a heroin-addicted cohort of a circus magician. The government apparently created the alien.

“Alien 51” will be released in June. As Variety notes, Fleiss’s ex-boyfriend, actor Tom Sizemore, who was sentenced last week for beating her, is due to be released from jail in April.