Chats with Ray McElrathbey the Real Life Hero & Cast Behind Disney Plus Original Film SAFETY Friday 11 December, 2020

SAFETY is now streaming exclusively on Disney+. This film is based on the true life story of Ray McElrathbey , former Clemson Tiger football player whos brotherly love that is selfless and goes way beyond your traditional sports drama film. I got a chance to attend the virtual press junket in which members of the media spoke with Ray McElrathbey himself and the cast of the movie who portrayed his life in the film.



“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).

The supporting cast includes Corinne FoxxMatthew GlaveHunter SansoneAmanda WarrenMiles Burris, Isaac BellElijah Bell and James Badge Dale.

INTERVIEW WITH Ray McElrathbey the Real Life Hero of SAFETY

The Real life Ray McElrathbey

On what it was like to have a movie based off his life?

Ray: It’s a surreal experience. It’s a  wonderful experience more so than anything. It was  something I’ve been praying for one-one would say. I’m blessed and excited to have the opportunity to be here  with all the people that are assembled to make this cast  and to be part of my life forevermore. It‘s surreal is the word I will use for how  I feel about this situation and having a movie about my  life. I’m 34 so, hopefully I can get something else  going on to.

Ray talks a little bit about his background growing up and about how he became a Clemson Tiger.

Ray: Well back where I’m growing up, I grew up in the  city of Atlanta. Born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in the city of Atlanta. I stayed with various coaches, so I kind of bounced around a little bit when I was younger. Clemson came about late my senior year. I  actually attended a football camp at Clemson that my  trainer and some other coaches sponsored for me. I was able to receive a scholarship while I was there at the camp. Coach Bowden offered me  a scholarship, and Billy Napier was actually a graduate assistant at the time and now he’s the offensive  coordinator.  

So, it was that long ago. That’s kind of how it came about. But there was a gentleman named Burton Burns, who was the running back coach who recruited me and made Clemson the family. He was able to portray the  family atmosphere that Clemson has come and to, and what I’ve come to always know Clemson to be. It was one of the  better decisions that I made in my life.  

On if the movie did an actual depiction of life at Clemson accurately. 

RAY: As far as what was changed, maybe nothing that  you all will notice. As far as changes ’cause I think what changed most of the things that we had to cut out, and  they mentioned that we had to get the time down from three hours to two hours. There’s so much more I think that they needed to capture as far as Clemson is concerned. You’ll see the campus, you’ll see things on campus that you’ll notice, and just from all the stadium footage, it’s during the game in Death Valley. It takes me back to the moment and to the times that I spent at Clemson and so I hope it  does the same for you.  

Jay Reeves as Ray McElrathbey in SAFETY, exclusively on Disney+.

On if Jay knew of Ray’s story prior to him getting this role.

Jay: I actually didn’t know anything. Going into it I started my research as soon as I got the material. So, watching the YouTube videos and then I followed Ray before I even got the role. I followed him on Instagram just to get a  little bit ahead. I really didn’t know anything about it. I just dove in headfirst and got to know this fantastic story. 

Sharing about the powerful scene where Jay portrayed Ray getting the custody papers to get his brother in the film.

Jay: Well prepping-prepping for that scene actually came with the script, you know? I believe in  starting with the paper. But then, of course, as I got to  know Ray, I would just dig in his brain. I didn’t want  to ask him, like, specific questions like that because I  wanted to feel it for myself. I didn’t want him to give me  the easy answer to what that might have felt like. So, I  remember on the day, I was actually sitting in the corner with Thaddeus. And he’s just being himself and having a great time and I got this heavy scene to do.

But I think, that  helped me a lot sitting over there with him and  his father and seeing their relationship and then putting myself in this position where I have to sign over for  something like that. For that same type of responsibility, just hit my heart. I just tried to be honest in what I would really feel like in that situation. 

Corinne Foxx & Jay Reeves in Disney + SAFETY

About Corrine Foxx playing Kaycee for her role in the SAFETY film.

Corrine: The interesting part about my  character Kaycee is, she’s one of the-one of the characters that’s actually not based on a specific person. I remember  asking Ray [LAUGH] hey, you know, who is  the real Kaycee? And he goes, there was a lot of girls that are gonna think they’re Kaycee.  

I  was really attracted to the role because, I have two  little sisters that are 12 and 13-years-old. I could  only imagine what I would do for them. I would do  absolutely anything. I think that’s what  attracted me to this story and then building out Kaycee.  And you know, she is a sports reporter. She’s super persistent. She’s determined. And I’m very similar to her  in that way, but she’s also a little bit  more bold than I am.  

On being one of the very few female cast members on set.

CORINNE: Obviously the chemistry I have with Jay. We did  our chem test and I remember leaving and going like, that went really well.And  obviously it did. ‘Cause I got the role. I was the only-the only girl  except for the woman who played, uh, Ray’s mother in the cast. Everyone just huddled around me. I felt very safe.  

Thaddeus J. Mixson as Fahmarr McElrathbey in Disney + SAFETY

Thaddeus’s message be for children or kids his age that are out there having a very tough time like his character.

Thaddeus: If you’re going through  something like that right now especially as a kid just don’t give up and just keep going. Because, eventually there will be something that’ll be very good that will happen. So, just don’t give up.

Ray McElrathbey, & 11-year-old brother Fahmarr McElrathbey back in 2006. SAFETY is the adaptation of their story.

Thaddeus J. Mixson as Fahmarr McElrathbey and Jay Reeves as Ray McElrathbey showing their brotherly love in the film SAFETY based on a true story.

Jay Reeves & Ray McElrathbey

SAFETY is now streaming exclusively on Disney+

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at + @kiwithebeauty

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