Slade Monroe is an up-and-coming young actor who has made his debut with the amazing and incredibly inspiring film, 12 Mighty Orphans. The film is based on the true story of how Mighty Mites, an orphanage football team, went from not even having shoes for playing football to qualifying and playing for the Texas State Championships. Slade Monroe plays the role of Wheatie and we talked to him about his character and his experience working with actors like Martin Sheen. Check it out below!
Hi Slade, I am Hardik Agrawal from The Movie Culture, how are you doing today?
Slade Monroe: I am doing tremendous this fine day. Waking up to a blue sky is always a warm feeling.
Q. So first of all, 12 Mighty Orphans is based on such an inspiring story. What was the one thing that resonated with you the most?
Slade Monroe: The attachment of family, football, and true to life characters. As a Texan who grew up in a small-town north of Fort Worth, I understand how important these things are to Texan culture. The people of this state eat, sleep, and breathe the sport. The best part is that this movie is about the fatherhood of Rusty Russell, and how he turns this group of kids into self-confident young men.
Q. Could you tell me more about Wheatie and what kind of leader he is in 12 Mighty Orphans?
Slade Monroe: Wheatie is the best type of leader because he is willing to take a punch for mites. Although he leads the team from the back field during games, he is the first to fight in defence of those he cares about when he isn’t on the field. It isn’t blind anger that allows him to beat and batter, but it is compassion that drives him to be a leader.
Q. Do you play football in real life too? If yes, what is the best part of portraying the sport on screen?
Slade Monroe: I used to when I was younger. I played for 7 years before making the tough decision of turning off the Friday night lights and exchanging them for stage lights, ironically. The best part is being able to get the best of both worlds. I get to play the sport that I loved while pursuing my true passion.
Q. You had an on and off relationship with this movie, in terms of prioritizing between choosing college or working on the set. Could you dive further into that dilemma and what ultimately led you into joining 12 Mighty Orphans?
Slade Monroe: There was no on or off relationship, really. I am a student at Chapman University for a BFA in Screen Acting. There is no teacher like experience and I knew if I got this role I would choose it over my college. After all, it would be fulfilling what my major intended me to do. When I learned I got the part about four weeks into my first semester of my freshman year, my professors shared in my excitement as they helped me transition away from the university and onto a professional set. And when that was all said and done, they waited with open arms as I returned as a student again.
The film stars legends like Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall. I am very curious about the contrast of ages & experience, and the kind of challenge it must have been to share the screen with such talented actors.
Slade Monroe: It was comforting to be around 11 other guys who were fairly new. Jacob Lofland, who plays Snoggs, and Jake Austin Walker, who plays Hardy, have been acting their entire lives. But the rest of us had not been on a set like this before. I got to see the energy of the younger guys at work. But I also got to see the pristine workings of the older gentlemen. Luke Wilson was incredible as Rusty Russell. On the first day, I got to see his transition from the actor to the character. Seeing Martin Sheen at work, though, that was something else entirely. With decades of experience, he wielded subliminal nuances like the master he is. There was no stiffness, or awkwardness, he knew exactly what he was doing at any given moment. Seeing the two of them work together was a masterclass for a new actor like me. The best part was how welcoming they were for the rest of us on set. They treated us no differently than they treated anyone else. The challenge was keeping up with them, but I was honored to share the same screen.
Q. How are you feeling now that the film has premiered and the whole world is witnessing your debut?
Slade Monroe: I am thrilled that the world gets to finally see the hard work hundreds of people put into the making of this film. It is almost a relief in a way that the suspense is no longer there, and I get to sit back and watch people indulge. Seeing all of the positive comments online, whether it be from news outlets or people posting on social media, has been such a joy to view from afar. I was told the other day by a kid who said that this was his favorite sports movie. It is stuff like that which makes this business so heartwarming to be a part of.
Q. To debut in such an inspiring and heartfelt story, I can’t wait to witness you in your upcoming projects. Could you tell me about some of them?
Slade Monroe: At the moment I do not have anything in the works other than the desire to find a manager, sharpen my skills, and hone in on my craft. But whatever is thrown my way in the future, I know I am ready for it.
Thank You for speaking with me Slade. 12 Mighty Orphans is an incredible story which deserves to be seen and you look phenomenal in it. All the very best for your future!
Slade Monroe: Thank you, it was nothing but a pleasure!!
The Movie Culture Synopsis
Slade Monroe delivers an phenomenal performance in 12 Mighty Orphans which can be seen in theatres around you.