“Lights Out” Star Proud of Work With Bas Rutten on Lifelong Dream Job

February 8, 2011

As the star of FX’s new hit series “Lights Out,” about a former world heavyweight boxing champion, Holt McCallany has learned what it takes to be an elite fighter.

So when it came time to film a recent scene in which McCallany’s character, Patrick “Lights” Leary, enters a cage fight, it’s only fitting a former MMA heavyweight champion and elite fighter oppose him.

Enter former UFC and Pancrase champion Bas “El Guapo” Rutten, a longtime friend of McCallany’s who had served as his personal fight choreographer nearly 10 years ago on the series “Freedom.”

“It wasn’t like all the years had passed,” McCallany told MMAWeekly.com. “After ‘Freedom,’ Bas is one of my closest friends and I used to train with him at his gym in West Lake, sometimes two times a day, for many, many years.

“There wasn’t really anybody I considered going to other than Bas Rutten. It was clear that if I was going to fight in a cage, it was going to be with Bas.”

As Rutten told MMAWeekly.com earlier this month, he has only one speed, even when filming fight scenes as opposed to being in an actual fight, and that’s full speed. McCallany’s insistence on realism and method acting style dictated the same, which lead to a very physical shoot.

“Bas hits really hard and kicks really hard, so you better be ready,” said McCallany. “You better be in top physical condition and bring everything you have and try to do the best you can.

“You’re in there with the best, so you’ve got to represent. It’s challenging, but at the same time it’s gratifying.”

With the action on “Lights Out” ranging from street fights to MMA to boxing, there were many fight sequences McCallany had to choose from as his favorite. It just so happens he feels his work with Rutten is the best so far.

“I feel we have some really good boxing on the show, particularly a fight later in the season – which is an exceptional fight – but I’d have to say the cage fight may be the best fight we had the whole year,” he stated.

While McCallany is quick to praise Rutten for his appearance on the show, the series is receiving rave reviews from critics and appears to be a breakout hit for FX.

McCallany himself is admittedly getting the best reviews of his career, but it’s not just for his physical presence as a former fighter, it’s also because of the story and people surrounding his character, Patrick Leary.

“Yes, it’s about the boxing world, but it’s really a family drama and the relationships between this ex-fighter and his wife, his father, his children, and his brother,” he commented.

“And I am really excited about it. It’s an opportunity to play one of those special characters that has an opportunity to be special, to break out and be remembered.”

For a lifelong fan and practitioner of boxing, the chance to work on “Lights Out” has become the fulfillment of something truly special for McCallany.

“I knew it was going to be a great show,” he said. “It was the kind of part that I had wanted to play since the time I was a boy. It’s a big deal for me, this character on this TV show; and to be honest, it’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.”

McCallany feels that if you are into combat sports, you will really enjoy the show, and urges you to tune in on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. Eastern and 7 p.m. Pacific to FX for “Lights Out.”

“I would just say just please give the show a chance,” closed out McCallany. “We think it’s a real quality product that we worked very hard on and that we’re very proud of. And if you allow yourself to become vested in these characters, it’s an interesting story.

“I think anybody who likes fighting, admires fighters and understands what they have to go through, will like this show.”