FX ‘Lights Out’ packs a Bolo Punch, McCallany talks Rutten, and the epic battle to come

FX’s new series “Lights Out” is the best drama on TV at this very moment. It has many wonderful qualities, but if I were to hard sell you in a fast pitch, I would tell you not to miss some of the best work actor Stacy Keach (Pops Leary) has done in years.

Or how fantastic actor (and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient) Bill Irwin is, cast as Hal Brennan, a complex, electric and haunted big-time heavy who has taken a shine to the beleaguered boxer Lights (and his sister we find out) in the first season.  

Another standout you will meet this episode four is MMA Champion, UFC Heavyweight Champion, and a three-time King of Pancrase (Japanese MMA) champ Bas Rutten, who has a cameo as a leg-breaker for Ernie Chen (Young-H. Lee), the local Shylock who has the screws into the Learys.


On Tuesday night’s February 1, 10:00 pm e/p episode titled “Bolo Punch,” Johnny (Pablo Schreiber) gets himself into a life-or-death financial bind, and Lights (Holt McCallany) is put between a rock and a hard place to bail his brother out. Written by Carter Harris. Directed by Norberto Barba.

Holt McCallany spoke with Monsters and Critics last week about this game changing episode in “Lights Out.”

“Episode four of ‘Lights Out’ features an awesome cage fight with MMA legend Bas Rutten. Johnny Leary, played by Pablo Schreiber, has gotten himself in debt with a local bookmaker by betting on our boxer Omar, played by Pedro Pascal, in a middle-weight title match. Omar is too cocky and gets knocked out in the last round and Johnny is on the hook for a lot of money. Enter El Guapo – Bas Rutten – in a terrific cameo as a collector,” says McCallany, a friend of the Dutch fighter.

“Bas is one of those rare athletes who is truly relaxed and present in his acting scenes. He brings intelligence, humor, and an astonishing physicality to his roles. When I learned [my character] Patrick was going to fight in the cage I immediately recommended Bas as my opponent. He and I had worked together before on another series and I was his student for several years. Bas is one of the best martial artists in the world and that’s not just my opinion – ask anyone in MMA. When you work with the best is elevates your game as well.”

McCallany continued, “I remember one time shooting a fight scene with Bas and he kicked my arm with a spinning back kick – the whole arm turned black, like it was dead. It stayed that way for a month, I have pictures. So you have to understand you’re getting in there with a guy who hits hard, really really hard. Every time I train with Bas I go home bruised and battered, but there’s no one better.  In the cage fight for episode four, it ends with him almost finishing me with a choke but at the last moment I hit him with a punch to the throat followed by a left hook to the head. I remember Bas telling me ‘it’s okay… hit me in the throat.  I’ll just flex my throat muscles.’   I didn’t want to, but he insisted, so I hit him in the throat – hard – to make it look good. All I can tell you is what you already knew… Bas Rutten is a very tough guy.” says Holt. 

And teasers for episode five?  “Stay tuned for episode five – The Comeback – when Hal Brennan, (Bill Irwin), starts flirting with my sister Elisabeth Marvel, and Patrick decides it’s time to get his title back!”

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