One of our favorite uplifting stories of 2020 had to be the Disney + film ‘Safety’, which tells the true story of former Clemson football player Ramon “Ray Ray” McElrathbey, who risked his football career to help raise his younger brother Fahmarr. We chopped it up with actor Jay Reeves, who took on the role of Ray in the film about making his Disney dreams come true and what’s next for his music career.
Global Grind: Was it hard playing a character who is actually a real person?
Jay Reeves: It made it harder but it became easier with Ray being on set as a consultant. Especially because things I normally would have had to look up and research to find, I could probably ask the man and probably get a more detailed answer as to what was going on. It was difficult, but having him so close was a blessing. It helped my performance tremendously.
Global Grind: How did you get into D1 shape to play this role?
Jay Reeves: I definitely worked with Ray a lot on this. Ray was training me a month prior to going out to Atlanta to shoot and Disney helped by getting me a meal prep plan to get my body right. All of those things helped me to get in the space in the mind to play Ray. Also I had some dope cast members who gave me support. So we worked out together. All of these helped me get my body to where it needed to be so I looked like this Division 1 football player on the screen.
Global Grind: What was it like working with Disney?
Jay Reeves: Working with Disney has been a dream come true. This is the company that as a kid I would put on TV because they made me feel warm when I was scared because I was home alone. To be working with them has been nothing short of magical. This is a height I didn’t imagine getting to this early. I think I am going to have a great home in the Disney family so hopefully I can stay close to them and continue to push out some bangers and blockbusters. And keep the ball rolling. They exceeded anything I imagined in terms of the press and what this movie looked like and to put me on that level so early in my career I am definitely in gratitude to them because they have opened my eyes to the potential.
Check out the trailer for Safety below:
Global Grind: What are some of the ways you prepare as an actor?
Jay Reeves: Being an actor has made me read ten times more than before I became one. I watch a lot of YouTube. I watch a lot of movies. Older movies. I study like that. However I can.
Global Grind: You played Shawn Scott on “All-American,” have you kept in touch with your former co-stars?
Jay Reeves: Michael who plays Jordan on the show just sent me some clothes. Im supporting his business. I speak to Daniel Ezra from time to time. Bre-Z/Coop is my road dawg. I’m in touch with them.
Global Grind: What’s next for you?
Jay Reeves: I’m a musician. I do rap music. I have some pretty cool producers who work with people like SZA and Brockhampton and all these cool people. Im dropping an EP/mixtape the first quarter of the new year sometime.
Im going to be producing a lot more in the coming months. I do have a huge movie that I’m up for that I’m not allowed to talk about. Just know it’s going to be fun and a lot of action and adventure.