Lights, camera and action, Fort Worth.
Luke Wilson-starring feature film “12 Mighty Orphans” is set to begin filming this fall in Fort Worth.
The movie – to be directed by Ty Roberts, a Texas native – is based on the true story of a group of Fort Worth orphans, who with the help of coach Rusty Russell, become one of the greatest football teams out of Texas.
Russell coached the Mighty Mites at Masonic Home, a school for orphans in Fort Worth during the Great Depression era of the early 30s. The team would often play and defeat school teams with much bigger players.
Despite starting their quest without even a football and being outweighed, the team makes their way all the way to the state playoffs.
Wilson will play the role of Russell, a Texas Sports Hall of Famer. Wilson recently wrapped up “Zombieland 2,” sequel to the cult classic.
Director Roberts said shooting in Fort Worth, where the events actually took places, provides a greater sense of authenticity to “12 Mighty Orphans”.
“Shooting in Fort Worth provides a foundation for us to build our film which allows our team to source everything as it was — from references to historians, to the real locations,” Roberts said, “all of this is invaluable to a period movie.”
Roberts co-wrote the script with actor and writer Lane Garrison. The movie is adapted from an acclaimed book of the same name that was written by Jim Dent.
The film will be produced by Houston Hill, Brinton Bryan and Fort Worth’s Michael De Luca and Angelique De Luca.
Hill acquired the rights through Santa Rita Film Co. and Bryan arranged financing through his Greenbelt Films banner. Fort Worth’s George M. Young Jr. and Rhett Bennett are executive producing the film.
“We’ve been welcomed with open doors here and are thrilled to be working with local crews and cast members to bring this incredible true story to life,” Roberts said in a statement.
The Fort Worth Film Commission and Visit Fort Worth began working with producers in early 2018 pitching and scouting locations throughout Fort Worth and Weatherford, according to a press release.
“We are thrilled to welcome the ’12 Mighty Orphans’ team to Fort Worth,” said Jessica Christopherson, film commissioner at Visit Fort Worth. “This is an important Fort Worth story and a fantastic opportunity for the local industry. We will be working with them throughout the process to assist with locations, permits and anything else that may be needed during filming.”
Fort Worth has become a budding scene for moviemakers in recent years.
Award-winning director David Lowery shot his 2018 hit “The Old Man & the Gun” in Fort Worth. Another football-themed movie, “The Last Whistle” was also filmed in Fort Worth.
The Fort Worth Film Commission has assisted over 300 projects and reports it has contributed more than $19 million in local economic impact.