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Marble Falls resident on silver screen in ’12 Mighty Orphans,’ now playing

Bonnie Talamantez in 12 Mighty Orphans and at Masonic Home and School of Texas

LEFT: Marble Falls resident Bonnie Talamantez in her costume on the set of '12 Mighty Orphans.' Talamantez played an extra in the film, which is based on the true story of the Mighty Mites, the Masonic Home and School of Texas’ football team that played in the state championship during the Great Depression. RIGHT: Bonnie Talamantez (standing, left) and the 2003 cheerleading team at the Masonic Home and School of Texas. Talamantez attended the school for three years and graduated in 2003. Courtesy photos

Watch carefully and you might spot Marble Falls resident Bonnie Talamantez as an extra in the movie “12 Mighty Orphans,” currently playing in theaters across the country, including Cinergy Marble Falls, 2600 U.S. 281. While filming one scene, she followed actor Martin Sheen, who called her by her first name on set. 

“I’ve never experienced anything like that before,” Talamantez said. “Me being in that atmosphere, filming and trying to pretend I was an actress was really different.” 

Talamantez graduated from the Masonic Home and School of Texas in 2003. The film chronicles the true story of the school’s football team, the Mighty Mites, which went from mediocrity to playing in the state championship during the Great Depression. 

Based in Fort Worth, the Masonic Home and School of Texas operated as a home for the orphaned children of Freemasons from the late 1800s until 2005. 

While she is neither a Freemason nor an orphan, Talamantez attended the school through a sponsorship by Henry Thomas Lodge #278 in Smithwick. 

“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of discipline,” she explained. “My father was very ill, my mother was always working, and I didn’t make the best choices. By the grace of God, Chick Rollins (a Marble Falls Mason) heard about me and got me into the school.” 

Before the movie began shooting, the casting department reached out to alumni to see if they wanted to participate. Talamantez sent in a headshot and was approved to work for two days in November 2019. 

She arrived on set at 5 a.m. each day for hair and makeup and to don her Depression-era costumes. 

The movie is set in the spring and summer months but was filmed during the fall, which made outdoor scenes especially difficult because of the cold weather, Talamentes remembered.  

“We weren’t supposed to show that we were freezing or anything,” she said. “But the cast and the director were very kind. They brought vans over and heaters and let us get in there between takes. If I ever do anything like that again, I’ll definitely make sure it’s during the summer.” 

Joining Sheen as leads in the movie are Hollywood actors Luke Wilson and Robert Duvall. A highlight of working on the movie was getting to rub elbows with the stars.

“It didn’t really hit me until I was walking outside and (Wilson) bumped into me,” she said. “There was a scene I got to be in with (Sheen), too.”

Although the movie wasn’t filmed on the school’s campus, Talamantez felt nostalgic and reminisced about her high school experience with other participating alumni.

“Going to the Masonic Home, you tell someone you were a Mighty Mite, and they just look at you confused,” she said. “Now, everyone’s talking about the movie and the home, and that is the coolest thing for us, that people get to see how special our home was.” 

brigid@thepicayue.com