There are so many iconic, inspirational sports films that audiences have enjoyed over the decades of cinematic history – Remember The Titans, Friday Night Lights, Any Given Sunday, Bend it Like Beckham, The Blind Side and of course the OG of them all – Brian’s Song with my all time favorite Billy Dee Williams. but, there’s something about SAFETY that is a little different. While attending the Global Press Conference, I had an opportunity to grab some inside information about the film from Director Reginald Hudlin. Here are some excerpts from that event.
“Yeah, I mean, there’s so many great sports movies going back to Brian’s Song, and as you say, Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights…the trick is what new do you have to say? Fortunately, we had a true story and it was really invaluable to have Ray (Mcelrathbey) involved in the entire process on set for my sake, for the sake of the cast.” shared SAFTEY Director Reginald Hudlin.
Of course, we all wonder what is it that entices a director to take on a project. For Reginald Hudlin, this would be his first attack shooting a sports film, but WHY this story and what’s the importance of sharing Ray’s story? “Twenty pages in, I stand up, I start pacing around. My wife was like, “What’s wrong?” and I’m like, “This is good.” . I just really related to Ray’s story. I’m from a small town in the Midwest, all black, economically deprived where it takes a lot of energy to get escape velocity and create opportunity for yourself. And Ray had it tougher than most. He’s the guy who made a way out of no way and the situation with failure was not an option. I think that’s a really important message and I knew it was especially important for the times we’re living in ’cause right now we’ve got a country that’s really torn apart. Ray represents integrity while maintaining a focus on education, a focus on excellence, which in his case was on the playing field, and most importantly, taking care of his family. Those are values that we all think of as important, I don’t care who you are or where you’re from. So, if we can come together focusing on those values, I think that starts to heal and rebuild our society.”
Being from the midwest, right next to the state Mr. Hudlin hails from, I couldn’t contain my excitement to speaking about the film and those game shots captured during halftime – 7 1/2 minutes to be exact with over 80k Clemson fans!!! Here is an excerpt of that conversation, but in the meantime make your way over to Disney Plus and stream SAFETY to lift your spirits during one of the most challenging years the world has ever encountered.