Sony Pictures Classics Acquires ’12 Mighty Orphans,’ With Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall (EXCLUSIVE)

Matt Donnelly
·2 min read

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide distribution rights to “12 Mighty Orphans,” a new drama starring Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen, Vinessa Shaw and Robert Duvall.

Sheen and Duvall have not shared the screen together since 1979, in Francis Ford Coppola’s landmark “Apocalypse Now.”

More from Variety

Adapted from Jim Dent’s bestselling novel, “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 a football to playing in the Texas state championships. The team was led by legendary high school coach Rusty Russell, who few knew was himself an orphan. Russell abandoned a cushy gig teaching privileged kids to teach and coach at the orphanage home of the Mighty Mites.

The project was directed by Ty Roberts, who adapted the screenplay with Lane Garrison and Kevin Meyer. Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker, Treat Williams, Ron White, and Scott Haze costar.

The film was produced by Houston Hill and Roberts of Santa Rita Film Co., along with Michael De Luca and Angelique De Luca of Michael De Luca Productions. Brinton Bryan of Greenbelt Films helped arrange the financing, along with The Forest Road Company who provided additional funding. George M. Young, Jr., J. Todd Harris, Rhett Bennett and Greg McCabe are executive producers.

“There is a reason underdog stories hold so much weight in the popular imagination, and we know the Mighty Mites’ true story of triumph over adversity—set in a time when much of the country was suffering—will lift the spirits of audiences worldwide. We are very excited to work with Ty on what promises to be an emotional and life-affirming film,” the studio said in a statement.

“It is an honor to be working with Sony Classics to bring this inspirational true story to the big screen,” said Roberts. “The story of Rusty and his underdog Orphans helped pull the country out of the Great Depression, and I know that it will be just as uplifting for audiences today.

The deal was negotiated by CAA Media Finance on behalf Santa Rita Film Co.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.