Hunter Sansone talks ‘Safety,’ ‘Stargirl’ and saving Pitbulls

Photo Credit: Leigh Keily

Hunter Sansone, also known as Cameron Mahkent in DC Universe’s hit CW series Stargirl can be seen starring in Disney+’s highly anticipated sports film Safety. 

Safety is the emotional true story that follows Ray-Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves), a freshman football player for Clemson University, who secretly raised his younger brother on campus after his home life became too unsteady. Hunter is a scene-stealer as Daniel, Ray’s roommate, teammate, and best friend. Daniel supports Ray every step of the way when Ray illegally brings his 11-year-old brother Fay to live with them in their dorm room while their mother is in rehab. The film also stars Thaddeus J. Mixson, Corinne Foxx, Matthew Glave, and James Badge Dale.

Photo Credit: Leigh Keily

Growing up in Missouri, Hunter played a lot of sports, one of which was football. Hunter played on the varsity team his senior year as a Cornerback. 

“I was the type of kid who played a bunch of different sports, and I didn’t play one very seriously, so I just did them all. I enjoyed it. I enjoy jumping from one thing to the next, I didn’t ever like just one thing. And I think that contributed to me being an actor because, as an actor, you can be someone different for every single project. You can be a football player one day, you can be a superhero one day, you can be anything, an astronaut, a doctor… So, I think it’s very true to my personality of loving all sorts of different things.”

Hunter got to jump back into football for Safety. He didn’t play much though, because his role as Daniel was more character-driven. 

“Daniel is Ray’s best friend, roommate, and teammate. He’s the first person that Ray meets when he comes to Clemson and is the first person that he confides in about his brother. The coolest thing for me about Daniel is that this film is about family. That’s the core theme of the film and I believe that Daniel embodies that same theme so the direct parallel between the film’s core values and Daniel’s core values was something that really attracted me to the part and the story in general because I was already in love with the script. I was crying by the end of it, I was sobbing reading this thing. I was like ‘I’ve got to be a part of this somehow, someway, we got to make it happen.’ And then, when Daniel came across my desk as for the role, it was a dream come true. It was a perfect lineup…..I wanted to honor the reality of this touching and challenging true story but at the same time, bring my own flair to it. So I hope that comes across, and I had an absolute blast with the part.”

Hunter has been incredibly busy. He’s also been working on the second season of Stargirl

“Yeah, we’re shooting Season Two right now… production is underway. It’s going very smoothly, even during this time of COVID. The safety protocols are incredible. Warner Brothers is handling it flawlessly in making us all feel very comfortable and safe, and we’re still able to do our jobs. And it’s an experience I’ve never had before of coming back for a second season of a show with a group of people that I started out with the year before. We didn’t know what was going to happen when we shot the first season. We thought ‘Hey if it’s just one season, fantastic. It was an incredible experience and we’re so grateful.’ And we formed a bond and a tight-knit little family unit, especially the younger core group of us, and to be able to come back into it all again after having that whole experience of season one is really surreal and it’s just a blessing and honor. I have to sometimes pinch myself and be like, ‘wow, this is real life, this is your job, this is what you’re doing’ and I try to never take any of it for granted.”

When he’s not working, Hunter supports the Stand Up For Pits Foundation and wants to use his platform to make a difference in the fight to end animal abuse. 

Photo Credit: Leigh Keily

“My passion for animals happened the same way my passion for acting, my family. My mom and my dad are both animal lovers. My mom used to picket in front of the White House for animal rights back in the day, before I was even born. I was raised with dogs and a farm and loving and respecting and treating those with no voice with the most respect and care because the animals are helpless. They just want love, they just want to be accepted and they love without regret, they love you even if you don’t love them it’s the most beautiful and purest thing around. And from a young age, that really stuck with me and I really know how to describe it other than I’m extremely passionate about it. My dear friend Rebecca Corry, who is a very talented comedian and actress and animal rights activist, is the founder of the Stand Up For Pits Foundation, out in Los Angeles. I have gone to her yearly comedy show that benefits the Stand Up For Pits Foundation it’s hosted by Kaylee Cuoco every year. Right now, I’m not sure where it’s at, given the time of COVID, but I’ve supported that through the years, it’s been a really cool thing that I was able to put my voice apart of and stand up for this discriminated breed of dogs, Pitbulls. What I think people need to understand is, dogs are born inherently good, and they are made aggressive by their owners, it’s not they don’t they don’t come out of the womb trying to fight and kill. That’s something they’re taught, it’s something that is influenced on them. And so, the Stand Up For Pits Foundation has been a very cool thing and I plan to do a lot more with that. And just in general, as my career goes on to get a larger platform, I would like to use my platform to speak out against animal abuse. I ultimately want to open up farm animal sanctuaries around the world, I want to convert part of my 123-acre farm in St. Louis, Missouri, into a farm animal sanctuary. I’ve always had plans for that and that will happen one day. And I just want to use my voice and my platform to speak out against animal abuse and be a voice for those who don’t have one.”

You can catch Safety on Disney+ today and Stargirl on The CW next year!

“I’m just excited for everyone to see season two of Stargirl and Safety. I think they’re two incredible projects that come from two different worlds. And you can get so much joy and laughter out of both, and I hope people enjoy it and go along for the ride.”

You can follow Hunter on social media with his handle @huntersansone