Movie will be based on the story of former Tiger Ray Ray McElrathbey
Do you remember Ray Ray McElrathbey?
If you are a Clemson football fan, you should. If you don’t then you will soon see his story in a new Disney movie that will begin production on Sunday.
McElrathbey is a former Clemson football player, who played for the Tigers from 2006-’07. But he was never famous for what he did on the field at Death Valley. Instead he received notoriety for his unselfish sacrifice to become the legal guarding of his then 11-year old little brother, Fahmarr.
The name of the movie will be “Safety” and is based on the life of McElrathbey and how he took on the custody of Fahmarr and kept him out of social services when his mother went into drug rehab and there was no father in the picture.
McElrathbey was just 19 years old at the time.
The film will be mostly shot in Atlanta where McElrathbey grew up and attended Mays High School. Other parts of the film will be shot in Clemson, including at halftime of the Tigers’ game against Charlotte at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 21.
According to an article in The Greenville News on Wednesday, they will also be shooting around the city of Clemson and the campus at places such as Jervey Gym, the reflection pond in front of the school library and at the Esso Club.
The film’s producer, Mark Ciardi, told The Greenville News, they plan to capture the Tigers running down the hill as well as trying to execute a kickoff and two defensive plays in the short time they will be allowed to use the stadium on Sept. 21.
Ciardi is a former pitcher at Maryland, who actually pitched against Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, so he is familiar with Clemson’s passionate fan base. In the past, he has produced sports films such as “The Rookie” in 2002, “Invincible” in 2006, “Secretariat” in 2010 and “Million Dollar Arm” in 2014.
One of the great parts about the McElrathbey’s story is how the Clemson football program rallied around him and his little brother. The NCAA granted a waiver that allowed Clemson’s coaches, staff, fellow teammates and others in the Clemson community to help with daily duties such as providing Fahmarr rides to school and a way back home. It also allowed Clemson to set up a trust fund for Fahmarr.
As for the scene that will be shot at Memorial Stadium during the Charlotte game, the production crew will recreate the 2006 Florida Atlantic game, a game the Tigers won 54-6 to open the season that year. McElrathbey had four tackles in that game while playing defensive back and on special teams.
McElrathbey, who suffered a season-ending injury in fall camp prior to the 2007 season, graduated from Clemson in 2008 and transferred to Howard College and then to Mars Hill, where he played his last season.
According to The Greenville News, the film will be directed by Reginald Hudlin, who has directed films such as “House Party”, “Django Unchained” and “Marshall”.
“Safety” will air on Disney +, Disney’s new video subscription service which is expected to launch on Nov. 12. The release date for the McElrathbey movie has not be set at this time.
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