In director Ty Roberts’ Great Depression-era sports drama, 12 Mighty Orphans, a group of underdog achieve unprecedented football success thanks to the encouragement and positive direction of coach Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson). This inspiring story comes to life thanks to the contributions of a talented ensemble cast and an emphasis on the value of hard work and perseverance.
I had the chance to speak briefly with a few of the key players in the film. Roberts and star Martin Sheen, who plays the team’s doctor, talked about the involved process of making this movie. Wilson and Vinessa Shaw, who portrays Rusty’s wife Juanita, discussed the challenges they faced during production. And the legendary Robert Duvall, who turned 90 earlier this year, reflected on the joy of starring opposite Sheen for the first time in 40 years since Apocalypse Now. You can watch the videos below, along with an official summary and where to watch.
1 : Interview with Director Ty Roberts and Actor Martin Sheen
2 : Interview with Luke Wilson and Vinessa Shaw
3 : Interview with Actor Robert Duvall
12 Mighty Orphans tells the true story of the Mighty Mites, the football team of a Fort Worth orphanage who, during the Great Depression, went from playing without shoes—or even a football—to playing for the Texas state championships. Over the course of their winning season these underdogs and their resilient spirit became an inspiration to their city, state, and an entire nation in need of a rebound, even catching the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The architect of their success was Rusty Russell, a legendary high school coach who shocked his colleagues by giving up a privileged position so he could teach and coach at an orphanage. Few knew Rusty’s secret: that he himself was an orphan. Recognizing that his scrawny players couldn’t beat the other teams with brawn, Rusty developed innovative strategies that would come to define modern football.
Here’s the trailer for the film: