Fort Worth loves a good football movie, but 12 Mighty Orphans, which premieres TODAY, is going to blow everyone away in Cowtown and across the nation. Based on a true story, this inspiring film follows a gaggle of scrappy, football-playing orphans from our very own Masonic Home, (filmed at Texas Pythian Home in Weatherford), whose rag-tag team makes it to the state championship during the Great Depression. The story is obviously amazing, but I am confident that it’s the best movie ever made in the history of movies because it was produced by my dear friend Angelique.
Angelique De Luca is creative, kind, inspiring and a stylish spitfire. Plus, she’s an amazing mom to the coolest kids. Pre-Covid, Angelique told me about a book written by James Dent, Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football, and how she eagerly waited in hopes of being a part of turning his NYT Best Seller it into a big-screen movie. I never doubted she’d do it — and do it big. She had a cameo roll and was Michael De Luca’s co-producing partner.
Her generosity shined bright when she offered our family the opportunity to invest in her new movie. Fall of 2018, my husband and I, along with my parents Carol and Jim Dunaway, scheduled a round-table meeting with several movie industry creatives, including Director/Co-Writer Ty Roberts, Producer Houston Hill, and recognized Fort Worth businessman George Young Jr. And even though we ended up deciding to not invest in the movie, it was a great experience learning the ends and outs of how a movie comes to life from start to finish.
Fast forward almost 2 years, and the movie is finally HERE! Last Monday night, June 7th, Angelique invited some of her nearest and dearest to celebrate the 12 Mighty Orphan’s worldwide movie premiere right here in Fort Worth. It was shown at the newly remodeled Isis Theater in the Stockyards, and Hotel Drover hosted the rockin’ afterparty.
Now, if you’re a loyal reader of my blog, you already know that I am no newbie when it comes to walking the Hollywood red carpet. Thanks to the Hollywood successes of Mike De Luca, Jason and I attended the Academy Awards in 2018, and I attended the global premiere of Fifty Shades Darker in LA in 2017 with girlfriends, both of which he produced.
From soft porn to school football, if it’s a premiere, I am here for it. So, before I share all of the fun in the premiere and afterparty photos below, PLEASE support this film. When Texas-made movies succeed at the box office, it brings more movies — and more revenue — to town.
***All professional photography by Laura Wilson courtesy of Fort Worth Film Commission***
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In October of 2019, Jason and I hosted a Steeplechase pre-party in our home, and Angelique thought it would be a fun party favor for actors Luke Wilson and King Orba to crash it. Needless to say, they were a HUGE hit for our guests and graciously took pictures with many of our friends. But that night, I told Luke, especially since he was not in a tux, it would be inappropriate for them to crash the actual debutante presentation at River Crest Country Club. We both laughed.
That same month, after Angelique’s birthday lunch at Ellerbe, she surprised a couple of us girls with access to the set to watch the filming of 12 Mighty Orphans at Gateway Park in Fort Worth. We met Martin Sheen and visited with Luke and King again. We also got to visit Video Village, a tented area away from the set filled with director chairs and set up with screens directly connected to the cameras, allowing for each of us to get a first-hand look at the scenes being shot.
George Young Jr., a local well-known oilman, producer, and main investor of 12MOs, had a cameo towards the end of the movie, and his actress niece Carlson Young, known for Pretty Little Liars (who is married to Isom Innis of the indie-pop band, Foster the People) had a small role in the movie too.
Many of the orphan characters had never acted before, but they were also taught how to play football by actor/writer Lane Garrison, most famous for Prison Break and Yellowstone. All 12 of the Orphan actors were so adorable at the premiere, and seeing some of these small-town kiddos light up like they were in a candy store was sweet to watch.
At the premiere, King Orba told me that he still wants me to gift him my self-portrait painting by John Holt Smith. I told him it could still be available for purchase, but he didn’t like that idea as much as getting a freebie!
Luke Wilson much rather chat throughout the night than have his photo taken over and over by the same group of gaggling girls (us). You should have seen him b-line across the room after the last coerced photo. I mean, a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do, am I right?
And our newly elected future mayor, Mattie Parker, and her husband know how to dance, dip and spin the night away. Who knew!
Be sure to check out my Instagram stories and highlights for more behind-the-scenes videos from that night!