03/08/2013 04:03 pm ET

Holt McCallany Talks 'Golden Boy,' 'Lights Out' And More

Known for his roles in movies like "Fight Club" and TV series like "Heroes" and "Lights Out," Holt McCallany is no stranger to fast-paced filming, making him a natural fit for CBS' "Golden Boy."

So what can viewers expect from his character, the celebrity-obsessed Detective Joe Diaco? McCallany sat down with HuffPost TV during a set visit to talk Joe, action scenes and more.

Let's talk about your character, Detective Joe Diaco. What can you tell me about him?
My character is a cop and a hustler, and he tries to supplement his income as a police officer in any way he can. He's also obsessed with celebrity culture, so he reads the gossip magazines and tries to keep abreast of what all the movie actors, fashion designers and reality stars are doing. There's a part of him that wishes he could cross over into that other world where the beautiful people live, so he's a little bit obsessed with that.

How do you prepare for the more action-heavy scenes on "Golden Boy"?
I've done a lot of action stuff over the course of my career. I played the heavyweight champion of the world in a show called "Lights Out." I've done a lot of fight scenes, and I always find that it's better that they be meticulously choreographed. You want them to look as real as possible, but you don't want anyone to get hurt. So I believe in really working it out in rehearsal, and when you get to the set just go for it 100 percent. You can shoot a dialogue scene without a tremendous amount of rehearsal, but you can't shoot an action scene that way. It just simply has to be worked out. I've seen guys get sent to the emergency room!

How long do action scene rehearsals take?
It depends very much on the type of scene it is. As I mentioned, in "Lights Out" we had big, heavyweight championship fights that went on round after round after round. The bell rings, the two fighters come out, they meet in the center of the ring ... everything has to be worked out. There can be a little bit of improvisation within a certain context, but generally, it has to be worked out. With a show like ours, we're not going to have long, extended, elaborate fight scenes. It's mostly just a fight in an alley, a suspect chasing a guy down so you can slap the cuffs on him. More basic stuff that cops do.

How do you see your character developing over the course of the series?
That's a great question. It's probably a better question for my showrunner Nick Wootton than for me. One of the interesting and exciting things about working in series television is that you have to put your trust in your writers and know that your character's destiny is largely in their hands. They watch what you do, and that inspires and gives them ideas. They try to tailor things to you. Very often they don't know what's going to happen six episodes down the road ... I picked up the script for this episode and said, "Wow, I have an ex-wife! Wow, I'm still paying her alimony! Oh, but we're dating again! You kind of have to be able to roll with the punches in that way. If you see something that you really feel doesn't correspond to the guy that you feel you're playing, then you can have that conversation and say, "Gee guys, this doesn't work for me." But I've been lucky on this show. The guy is full of life and humor. He's got a million angles.

How do you feel about not knowing where Joe's going from episode to episode?
When I do a movie, I have the script. I know how it begins and how it ends. I know what my character does and where he's going. If I have ideas I want to express or changes I want to make, there's one guy: the director. It's different in television. As I said, you don't know the journey you're going to take. We may be doing this for seven seasons if we're lucky, or we may not. Only the TV Gods will know. I am certain that the writers -- talented though they are -- don't know where Detective Joe Diaco will be doing to be in Season 5. To speculate about that would be pointless. That's why the trick is to go into business with writers you think are talented and guys you think are collaborative and just ride the wave.

Do you have a preference? Movies or TV?
They're very different, and you have to work more quickly in television. We basically make a 45-minute movie here every eight days. That's a different kind of experience. As I said, you don't know where your final destination is on this journey. But it's still a very rewarding experience. American audiences love their television shows, and we've already shot 13 hours of entertainment with "Golden Boy." I would only be able to do one film in that time. You get to work a lot more, and I think that's important.

"Golden Boy" airs on Fri., March 8 at 9 p.m. EST before moving to its regular time slot on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

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