The all-star cast tackles the true story of Texas high school football underdogs. Here are five things to know.
- Texas native Luke Wilson, who played football in high school, leads the cast playing legendary coach Rusty Russell in this inspirational drama, set in a Ft. Worth, Texas orphanage during the Great Depression.
- For over a century, the Masonic Home took in thousands of children from all walks of life. They were fed, clothed and educated by its extraordinary teachers, coaches and administrators. Rusty Russell and his wife, Juanita, served the Home for 16 years, and their legacy lived strong until it closed in 2005.
- Martin Sheen takes on the role of Dr. E.P. “Doc” Hall, a country physician who served at the orphanage as a caretaker for decades. Hall never took a dime from the Home for his decades of service. He became a father figure to hundreds of orphans, 47 of which would go on to become doctors. Sheen told us, “I got to play someone who was close to my heart, my character, my personality. He reflected things that I deeply respond to.”
- Robert Duvall agreed to contribute a small cameo, playing a Mighty Mites financier who comes to watch them play. The role would reunite him for the first time in decades with Sheen, his cast mate from “Apocalypse Now.” Duvall, a huge football fan, both pro and college, was moved by the humanity of Rusty Russell’s story, and his paternal spirit.
- Luke was instrumental in securing Vinessa Shaw for the pivotal role of Juanita, Russell’s wife. Years ago, Luke and Vinessa were scheduled to do a movie together. The project fell through but they hoped to collaborate in the future. Vinessa immediately said ‘yes’ when Luke asked her to be in “12 Mighty Orphans,” which she says teaches about never giving up. “It’s a feel-good movie but why is it? It’s because it’s people who have overcome all odds to build success and actually create success for their future for years to come, not just as a team."