Truly A Texas Endeavor: ‘12 Mighty Orphans' An Ode To The Underdog

Directed by a West Texas native and starring Luke Wilson of Dallas, "12 Mighty Orphans" was filmed entirely in North Texas.

Video Transcript

- [INAUDIBLE] before the pandemic a movie based in Fort Worth and filmed in North Texas is being released around the state today. "12 Mighty Orphans" tells a story about the Masonic home orphanage football team's rise to state championship during the Great Depression. As Ken Molestina explains, it's putting the area in the spotlight.

- My name's Harvey Nual Russell. I'm the new math/science teacher.

- The football coach?

KEN MOLESTINA: The producers and director of "12 Mighty Orphans" didn't have to go to Hollywood to find a movie set. They found part of it right here in Weatherford.

KRISTIN WATSON: And when Ty walked into this building, he just said, yes.

TY ROBERTS: And just had a wonderful support of the community in Weatherford, and-- and the folks at the Pythian Home were amazing.

KEN MOLESTINA: The Pythian Home is a non-profit children's home that has been in operation for 112 years.

KRISTIN WATSON: They chose us because we still look like real time period correct. This was like a formal sitting area. They--

KEN MOLESTINA: Kristin Watson works at the home, and she showed us around the property. Some of the movie set is still there, from the beds in the dorm to intricate details, like the 1930s newspapers and even the doorknobs.

KRISTIN WATSON: And when they showed us what they were going to do to the walls, and the floor, and the ceiling, we were like, oh, OK. But it all worked out. It looked amazing.

KEN MOLESTINA: Watson remembers the movie stars well. She says they graced the home for six weeks. And she told us a story about one of the lead actors, Luke Wilson.

KRISTIN WATSON: He got to interact with our kids. And he got down on the floor with them, sat with them, and they were crawling all over him. And we were like, you know, back up, and he's like, oh, they're OK, and I'm just so nice.

KEN MOLESTINA: At the red carpet premiere recently in Fort Worth, we asked Wilson who grew up and still lives in Dallas what it was like to shoot a movie basically in his own backyard.

LUKE WILSON: As I was growing up, we'd come here a lot to go to the Raymond Corridor and the rodeo. And my grandfather lived here. So we'd come really often. Yeah, once a month at least. And, uh, so it was great to have the chance to-- to work here.

KEN MOLESTINA: Well besides Wilson, the cast includes Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Vinessa Shaw. And while the movie debuts today in Texas, it will be released nationwide next weekend, Brooke.

- Gonna be exciting, Ken. Thank you.