Arrow star Stephen Amell and STARZ have tapped Kelli Berglund (Now Apocalypse) for a lead role in their upcoming hour-long drama Heels. Set in the world of independent professional wrestling, the eight-episode series is written by Michael Waldron (Loki) and directed by Peter Segal (Shameless) – with Mike O'Malley serving as showrunner, and Alexander Ludwig (Vikings) and Broadway actress/musician Alison Luff (Waitress) co-starring.
Based on exclusive reporting from Deadline Hollywood, Berglund's Crystal is a 20-year-old wrestler's valet who yearns to transform this traditional role and compete as a wrestler. A rural-town girl of limited financial means, she's an incredible athlete who just needs an opportunity to prove she belongs in the ring – and she'll do whatever it takes to make that dream come true.
Here's an official look at Amell, Ludwig, and Luff's characters:
● In the ring, Amell's Jack Spade is the charismatic villain, or heel, of the Duffy Wrestling Association (DWA). In the real world, he's its hard-working owner, a husband and father trying to make ends meet while fighting to realize his impossible dreams. He has the mind of an artist in the body of a warrior, and a Steve Jobs-ian need for perfection — and for control. He says he'll do whatever it takes to build the DWA into an empire. Will he go so far as to risk his marriage – or his relationship with his brother, Ace?
● In the ring, Ludwig's Ace Spade is the beloved hero and star of the DWA. Things are more difficult in the real world, where he struggles to reconcile his town idol status with his insecurities and demons. He's brash, cocky and self-destructive — yet so damn charming and good-looking that you can almost forgive him. If he can keep it together, he'll have a ticket out of Duffy and to the big time. But that's a big if…
● Luff's Staci Spade is the reluctant young matriarch of a family-owned Southern wrestling promotion. Having married into the world of independent wrestling, she soon learns that she has to contend with the emotional stakes her in-laws have invested in their wrestling goals and the demands it puts on her family (Deadline Hollywood).
No stranger to professional wrestling himself, Amell has competed for the WWE and Ring of Honor (ROH) – in 2018, he competed in his first singles match as a professional wrestler at All Elite Wrestling's (AEW) "All In" event. So it was no surprise that he would reach out to one of his friends for some "professional consultant" work: here's a look at Amell's tweet to AEW's Cody Rhodes – followed by the official overview for Heels:
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) August 19, 2019
Heels is about the men and women who chase their dreams in the world of small town pro wrestling. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, it follows a family-owned wrestling promotion as two brothers and rivals — Jack (Amell) and Ace (Ludwig) Spade — war over their late father's legacy. In the ring, somebody must play the good guy (Ludwig) and somebody must play their nemesis, the heel (Amell). But in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to — or hard to leave behind.
Originally spearheaded by Paramount Television through STARZ in 2017, the series was set up for an eight-episode season/series track. STARZ now serves as lead studio, with Lionsgate TV also involved as part of the merger of STARZ and Lionsgate's television production operations. Waldron and O'Malley are also set to executive produce, alongside LBI Entertainment's Julie Yorn, Chris Donnelly, and Patrick Walmsley.