Safety is a Disney+ original movie, directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Randy McKinnon and Nick Santora. The film is based upon the story of Ray McElrathbey.
The film focuses on Ray McElrathbey, a young man facing various challenging experiences in his personal life. His hope and persistence assist his pursuits, defeat his trials, and allow him to play football through a scholarship at Clemson University; all while he struggles to raise and care for his 11-year old brother Fahmarr on campus, away from their mother struggling with drug addiction.
Ray McElrathbey is a freshman to Clemson University; having been accepted on a football scholarship for their team the Tigers.. He is quickly thrust into campus life as he tries to balance his school work and football career. He begins to receive numerous phone calls from his younger brother Fahmarr, but tries to ignore him to study. He quickly takes an interest in sports journalist student Kaycee Stone while also butting heads with football captain Keller. One day, Ray learns that Fahmarr is not at home with their mom, Tonya, and races back home over the weekend to find that their mother has relapsed and Fahmarr has been staying with a former acquaintance, presumed to be a dealer. Ray takes Fahmarr to child services and, faced with the prospect of losing Fahmarr to the system, decides to take him in, albeit temporarily so that Tonya can recover in a month.
Ray hides Fahmarr in his dorm with his roommate Daniel Morelli discovering him. He promises to keep him a secret while also helping him out. Ray soon becomes close with Kaycee though she begins to suspect that he is hiding something from her. Fahmarr also gets enrolled in a new school, though the different environment becomes slightly alienating for him. Eventually, studying, practice and caring for Fahmarr begin to take its toll on Ray and Daniel brings in the rest of the freshman squad to help with keeping Fahmarr out of trouble. Unfortunately, team captain Keller discovers Fahmarr and forces Ray to come clean about it. Coach Bowden and Simmons reprimand him and Ray tells Fahmarr that he must leave as Tonya's program is almost over.
Tonya informs the boys that she will be staying in the program much longer, meaning that Fahmarr must go into the system. Ray becomes depressed and tells Kaycee about why he has been acting so strange. After some encouragement, Ray speaks with Simmons about Fahmarr and he helps him go out and retrieve him. They must live off campus while Ray holds side jobs to keep themselves afloat. Fahmarr goes back to school and begins crushing on a girl named Shannon. Ray's relationship with Keller and Kaycee improve and becomes a better player. Fahmarr sits in in one of their classes and helps the team with one of their games. Kaycee, impressed with the changes, offers to print Ray's story in the paper, despite him not wanting to come off as a charity case. Soon, everyone in the community begins offering help to the McElrathbeys as their relationships improve.
Shortly before the Bowden Bowl, Ray is informed that the NCAA is investigating his situation as they believe that he is receiving irregular benefits. Despite the support of Bowden and Simmons, they are informed that it seems impossible that they will be waved. Ray begins to prevent anymore charity to himself or Fahmarr and shuts himself off from everyone. He soon discovers that Fahmarr has run away and everyone goes searching for him; eventually finding him at a diner. Ray promises that he will continue to look after him no matter what and he reluctantly forces Tonya to hand full custody of Fahmarr over to him. Ray and Fahmarr head to the hearing at the NCAA, along with his coaches, his team, Kaycee and the community. After giving a heartfelt speech, the board ultimately decide to allow Ray and Fahmarr all the necessary benefits needed. Fahmarr is seen with the rest of the Tigers and is given his own jersey as he joins his brother on the field to prepare for the big game.
During the credits, it is revealed that Ray successfully graduated as he and Fahmarr reunited with their completely sober mother. Real footage is played of their appearance on Oprah as well as Ray playing football.
- Jay Reeves as Ray McElrathbey
- Thaddeus J. Mixson as Fahmarr McElrathbey
- Corinne Foxx as Kaycee
- Luke Tennie as Solomon
- James Badge Dale as Coach Simmons
- Hunter Sansone as Daniel
- Elijah Bell as Pop
- Issac Bell as Fresh
- Matthew Glave as Coach Tommy Bowden
- Miles Burris as Keller
- Coco Hillary as Morrow
- Amanda Warren as Tonya McElrathbey
- Dwayne “Showtim3” Dyke Jr. as Eric Lewis
In July 2019, it was announced Reginald Hudlin was directing the film, which would stream on Disney+
Filming began in September that year in South Carolina. Filming will also take place in Atlanta.