After casting calls were announced in March, “12 Mighty Orphans” has wrapped up filming in Weatherford and the cast and crew will be traveling around other parts of the state to finish the football movie, which is based on a true story.
Producer Brinton Bryan, a native Texan, said it was rewarding to shoot at the Pythian Home.
“I grew up in Granbury, so coming back 20 years later and filming this inspirational story in my old backyard has been incredible,” Bryan said. “It’s so rewarding to shoot at the Pythian Home. To be telling the story of orphan kids in this area back in the 1930s, but actually helping orphan children of today — nothing beats that. We are so lucky that the Fort worth Film Commission found this magical place for us.”
The movie comes from the book written by Jim Dent in 2007 that tells the story of the 1930s Texas high school football team the Masonic Home Mighty Mites out of a school constructed in Fort Worth for housing and educating orphans of Texas Freemasons. According to the book, a group of those orphans — bound together by hardship and death during The Great Depression — were called the toughest football team around and in just a few years were playing for the state championship on the highest level of Texas football. The Mighty Mites remain a notable moment in the long history of American sports.
The stars of the film include Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Wayne Knight, Vinessa Shaw and Jake Austin Walker.
In 2016, Weatherford City Manager Sharon Hayes gave the directive to the development and planning department for the city to obtain the designation of a film friendly city through the Texas Film Commission and Weatherford was officially certified in July of 2018.
“Thirty percent of a normal film budget is spent in lodging, food, film props and production needs, which directly affects Weatherford businesses,” Weatherford’s Director of Communications and Marketing Blake Rexroat said in a previous Weatherford Democrat article. “From prop rentals to housing, we feel Weatherford has the infrastructure in place to accommodate productions of every size. We feel city management and staff are working together to attract, manage and cater to production companies.”
The movie finished filming at the Pythian Home last week and will be moving on to other locations in the state. Pythian Home staff are required to not discuss the project until its release, and couldn’t comment on the experience of having a movie filmed on its grounds.
“12 Mighty Orphans” is expected to be released around Thanksgiving of 2020.
For more information visit the “12 Mighty Orphans” Facebook or IMDb pages.