In Fort Worth, a Football Destination Becomes a Football Movie Set

28 Aug, 2019

Michael De Luca Productions, Santa Rita Film Co., and Greenbelt Films announced production of the feature film 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS will begin in fall 2019 in Fort Worth. The film, based on the acclaimed book by Jim Dent, will be directed by Ty Roberts, who co-wrote the script with actor and writer Lane Garrison.

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.

ABOUT THE FILM: 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS is the story of an orphanage perched on a hilltop overlooking Fort Worth, Texas, where Coach Rusty Russell turns a scrawny band of underdogs into fierce warriors that leave their opponents bewildered and battered.  These youngsters, in spite of being outweighed by at least thirty pounds per man, are the toughest football team around. They begin with nothing?not even a football?yet Rusty Russell’s innovative offense helps lead the orphans to the state playoffs. At a time when America desperately needs fresh hope and big dreams, the Orphans prove that heart can triumph over the greatest of obstacles. A remarkable and inspirational story of an orphanage and the man who created one of the greatest football teams Texas has ever known.

“For me, there’s nothing more important than authenticity in making a movie. 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 — all of this is invaluable to a period movie,” said Ty Roberts, director of 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS. “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. We couldn’t be more excited to be here and I thank the Fort Worth community for receiving us with open arms.”

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.

“We are thrilled to welcome the 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS team to Fort Worth,” said Jessica Christopherson, AVP of marketing and film commissioner. “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.”

Luke Wilson will play Coach Rusty Russell, a World War I veteran with a troubled past; his mother left him to an orphanage when he was a child. Haunted by his failures, Rusty is determined to go down swinging, and accepts a job as head football coach at a Texas orphanage and high school in southeast Fort Worth. Through his work and dedication, redirects his players’ feelings of loss and humiliation and transforms them into an unforgettable athletic achievement: playing in the Texas state championship.

To read the announcement article on Deadline Hollywood click here.

About Luke Wilson: Luke Wilson can next be seen starring in THE GOLDFINCH, directed by John Crowley and opposite Ansel Elgort, as well as starring in Atom Egoyan’s GUEST OF HONOUR. Both films will premiere at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. He is currently filming Geoff John’s STARGIRL for DC. Wilson recently wrapped ZOMBIELAND 2 for Columbia Pictures and starred in ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES directed by Brett Haley, opposite Elle Fanning. He co-starred in the emotionally charged comedy, THE SKELETON TWINS, featuring Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig and Reed Morano’s MEADOWLAND. Wilson is repped at CAA.

About the Fort Worth Film Commission: The Fort Worth Film Commission serves as a beacon for Fort Worth’s creative class, to provide opportunities to local crew by pitching projects to film in Fort Worth and supports on-the-ground needs of productions such as locations, permitting and more. Since its founding in 2014 a branch of Visit Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Film Commission has assisted over 300 projects and reported more than $19 million in local economic impact. For more information, visit www.FilmFortWorth.com and follow @FilmFortWorth on Instagram and Twitter.

About Visit Fort Worth: Visit Fort Worth is the official destination marketing organization of the 13th-largest city in the United States, dedicated to promoting Fort Worth as a premier business and leisure destination with thriving centers of culture and commerce. Fort Worth is a destination with a rich Western heritage and a dedication to the arts. The city is home to the famed Stockyards Historic District, the lively downtown Sundance Square and a Cultural District featuring five renowned museums. For more information, visit www.FortWorth.com.


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