Tomorrow is the day Safety hits Disney +! My very first junket in LA for Disney was for McFarland USA. That is when I become addicted to these sports movies that are all based on true stories. Being a sports fan and player myself, I was so interested to screen Safety, which debuts on Disney + tomorrow. I will be giving you my full review tomorrow but today I wanted to talk about the virtual press junket I did with Ray Reeves “Ray (Ray-Ray)”), Thaddeus J. Mixson II (“Fahmarr (Fay)”), Corinne Foxx (“Kaycee”), Hunter Sansone (“Daniel Morelli”), Reginald Hudlin (Director), Mark Ciardi (Producer), and Ray-Ray McElrathbey (Real life person the story is based on). They were so gracious to talk to us about this beautiful story!
Interview with cast, crew, and inspiration of Disney’s Safety:
- What was your excitement with making this film?- to Ray Reeves
He was so excited when he got the audition material. This story was so impactful to him and reading the description made him stop everything to do the movie.
2. How was it filming at the school?- to Mark
The school was so supportive and was a bit of a military option to film the major scene with 80,000 people packed in and the noise they were making.
3. What is it like to have a movie based on you?- to Ray-Ray McElrathbey
He said it was a very surreal experience and he was blessed to be a part of this movie. He said he could have never imagined it in his life.
4. How much did you know about the story going into it?- asked to Ray Reeves
He did not know a lot but he was so blessed to be in it and did his research once cast.
5. What was your background growing up?- to Ray-Ray McElrathbey
He grew up in Atlanta and stayed with various coaches. Clemson came out late in his senior year. He received a scholarship in his senior year. It was a great family atmosphere that he loved.
6. How was it embrace the role?- to Thaddeus
He stared doing his research right away. He wanted to show the emotional aspect of playing his part.
7. What was the period that you chose?- to Mark
They structured the movie over a 2 month time. Their first cut was over 3 hours. They had to be focused on what they telling and what the audience would want to see. They want the audience to laugh and cry!
8. The scene where you are signing the papers was one of the most powerful scene in that film. How did you get ready for that scene?- to Ray Reeves
Prepping for the scene came from the script. He didn’t want to ask Ray because he wanted to feel it for himself. He wanted to observe the relationship in real life.
9. What would your message be for kids having a tough time?- to Thaddeus
To keep going and to never give up! Eventually something good will happen!
10. What surprises are in the film? What was changed?- ask to Mark
He said what they really changed was cut out. A lot of it was true to story and takes everyone back to the times.
11. Why did you tell Ray Ray’s story?- to Mark
He was very moved by it and felt the story needed to be told. He needed to go off his gut and instinct.
12. Can you tell me something about the social part of sports and how important it is to be part of a team?- asked to Ray
It is important to be part of a team. Even on set, he felt like he was on a professional football field. All the actors were so welcoming and a team environment is very much needed.
13. What would you say was the most challenging part of taking care of your brother those first few months?- to Ray Ray
He said struggling the line between what he could do and what others can do. It was being alone and not telling a lot of people. That was the toughest part. Eventually he opened up and people came out to help all the time.
Safety is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a young man facing a series of challenging circumstances, whose dedication and persistence help him to triumph over repeated adversities. Aided by his teammates and the Clemson community, he succeeds on the field while simultaneously raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson).
SAFETY DEBUTS ON DISNEY + EXCLUSIVELY TOMORROW, DECEMBER 11th!
*Thanks Disney for inviting me to the virtual press conference.*