Holt McCallany gets heavyweight role

'Lights Out' star has longtime affinity for boxing stories

New Faces for Fall:
Sharon Horgan | Jon Michael Hill | Billy Gardell | Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe | Andrew Lincoln | Holt McCallany | Michael Pitt | Maggie Q | Ruth Wilson | James Wolk
Fall TV Preview 2010

If any actor had a puncher’s chance to land the lead role in boxing drama “Lights Out,” it was Holt McCallany.

Already having played trainer Teddy Atlas in the TV movie “Tyson,” with additional parts in bigscreen pics “Fight Club” and “Against the Ropes,” McCallany had written a script and was looking to star in a series about a boxer trying to figure out what’s left in life after leaving the ring.

Following an exec shuffle at NBC, his project began to languish, but as if the ghosts of Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano were looking down on him, a similar pilot arrived at FX. After a healthy career of supporting roles, he knew the lead was his for the taking.

“I got a few pages in and realized what I was holding was something similar to what I had hoping to do for all of those years,” he says.

Although the cabler was looking at higher-profile actors to play the lead of Patrick “Lights” Leary — a pugilist ready to permanently hang up his gloves after a tough loss and health concerns but is faced with a crushing financial responsibility that can only be met with another fight — McCallany earned the role.

“It was one of those lucky breaks that happens only once or twice in a career,” he explains. “You can be a working actor for many years, but you need that special part to bring you to people’s attention in a unique way.”

“Lights Out” should do the trick.