Read more: Holt McCallany to play Irish-American heavyweight boxing champ on FX
Having played the role of legendary trainer Teddy Atlas in the 1995 TV movie, “Tyson” Holt McCallany has been fighting to get back in the ring. This Tuesday, on FX, his dream will come true as he steps in the right playing burn-out boxer Patrick “Lights” Leary on “Lights Out”.
His character, Leary, is an aging former heavyweight Irish American boxer who is struggling to come to terms with his life after his career. His financial difficulties mean he is toying with a life in the ring or working as a debt collector.
His Irish-born father, Michael McAloney won a Tony Award for his production of Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy on Broadway.
McCallany had a wealth of experience as a boxer. In his youth he boxed with his brother a Golden Gloves champion boxer. Then in 1995 he stared in “Tyson”.
After playing the role of Atlas in “Tyson” he was determined to play a boxer. When he got the role of Leary in “Lights Out” he called Atlas for some advice and got more than he bargained for. Not only did he experience real training but also the kind of camaraderie which exists among boxers.
McCallany said “It’s like a big fraternity. And because it’s a very serious game, it’s a very, very dangerous game, there’s this kind of like unspoken respect that exists between these guys…It’s a very pure sport and it’s a very noble endeavor because you find out the things about yourself that maybe you didn’t want to find out.
"You can’t lie in the ring…You can’t cheat really. If you haven’t done the training, if you’re not ready, if you didn’t commit yourself and do everything that you needed to do, you’re going to be exposed."
Warren Leight, executive producer on “Lights Out” said that the team watched hours of boxing movies to prepare for the show. One thing that they quickly noticed was that boxing movies tend to only show small parts of the boxers life.
He said “To serialize a story about the life of a boxer and what it’s like to try to put food on your family’s table when times have changed, to serialize that story over time really allowed us to open it up…The great challenge was to avoid the clichés and make the world come to life.
"I hope and think we pulled it off."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore