The latest episode of “Blindspotting” gave millennial fans something they never thought they’d get to see: Dante Basco essentially reprising the role of Rufio, leader of the Lost Boys in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” — even if it was at a Halloween party.
The installment, titled “By Hook or by Crook,” followed as Jacque (April Absynth) invited her new beau Cuddie (Lance Holloway) to her family’s home in Daly City for a Halloween party. After being incorrectly advised by Trish (Jaylen Barron) into wearing a pirate costume to the event, Jacque freaks out upon arrival and reveals to Cuddie that her father is Dante Basco.
Given the actor’s history with pirates, Cuddie’s costume is understandably barred from the event. Though they try to hide it for a while, Basco eventually discovers the truth; leading to a “Hook”-esque sword fight between the men in Jacque’s life.
Rafael Casal, co-creator and showrunner of the Starz comedy series, recalled Basco telling him he’d been pitched similar storylines in the past. The fact the episode also served as a celebration for the Bay Area’s Filipino community – and Basco’s own roots in the region – sealed the deal.
“We wrote [this episode] just in honor of him, and the day he showed up on set we were all just like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’” Casal said in an interview with TheWrap. “I can’t believe we’re getting to do this absurd episode in Daly City that is also really about how important the Filipino community is to the Bay.”
“It was a complete trip getting to work with him,” Episode 4 director Jess Wu Calder said in a separate interview. “I think [his presence] made all of us into kids again.”
Casal recalled meeting Basco while on the Los Angeles poetry scene. He shared a story about how one of the first times he hung out with the actor, Basco brought the “Hook” sword with him to show it to Casal, knowing how big a fan he was of the film.
“Then he just takes [the sword] and he f—king hands it to me,” Casal remembered with a laugh. “Like, every little kid bone in my body was breaking.”
He said that by the time the writers’ room convened for Season 2, he and Basco had developed a rapport, so he texted him to pitch him the idea. He was game from the jump, knowing Casal and co-creator Daveed Diggs would treat Rufio’s legacy with respect.
“The reality was that we grew up admiring him,” Casal said. “‘Hook’ in the ’90s. That is otherwise a pretty white film, you know, except for the Lost Boys. And [Basco] being the leader of the Lost Boys, as this Filipino brown man from the Bay, who’s like 17 years-old, it was really revolutionary for a lot of us as kids looking up to him.”
Cuddie, whom audiences find out is also a massive “Hook” fan, gets to live out his dreams of getting into a sword fight with Rufio at the Halloween party. It ends with a happy ending, however, after the men make amends and Basco even names Cuddie an honorary Lost Boy.
The real-life Basco, who was born in Pittsburg, California, recently wrote and directed his own love letter to the Bay Area. His film “The Fabulous Filipino Brothers” produced under Cignal Entertainment and TheMachine, featured his real life siblings and chronicled a fictional version of their lives in Pittsburg. The film is now available to stream on Hulu.
“Blindspotting” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz, and streams Fridays at midnight ET/Thursdays at 9 p.m. PT on the Starz streaming platform.