Let's be clear about something: Heels star Stephen Amell hasn't just spent the past month or so training and working out to get himself into spandex shape for his upcoming indy pro-wrestling-set STARZ series. Viewers of Satuday night's All Elite Wrestling AEW Revolution PPV learned that the Arrow alum has also gone back to "living the life", accompanying Cody Rhodes to the ring as part of his entourage for "The American Nightmare's" match against MJF.
Amell is definitely not a stranger to pro wrestling, having fought against and alongside Rhodes in the squared circle over the years (see below) and forming a close friendship outside the ring. Unfortunately, Amell's mojo wouldn't be enough to help Rhodes walk away with the three count – but for those excited for Heels, it shows the level of authenticity Amell's looking for in the project.
I'm proud of Cody. I'm proud of Brandi. Proud of Matt and Mrs. Matt and Nick and Kenny and Chris and Moxley and Dustin and Adam and CD and Schiavone (!!). It takes testicular fortitude to go out in the world and make something. I'm Nightmare Family 4 Life. pic.twitter.com/11gMQSE7qI
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) March 1, 2020
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 (Vikings star Alexander Ludwig) Spade — war over their late father's legacy. In the ring, somebody must play the good guy and somebody must play their nemesis, the heel. But in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to — or hard to leave behind.
Written by Michael Waldron (Loki), directed by Peter Segal (Shameless), and with Mike O'Malley serving as showrunner, the eight-episode series also stars Broadway actress/musician Alison Luff (Waitress), and Kelli Berglund (Now Apocalypse).
"Heels": A Look at The Cast
Here's a look at an updated rundown of "who's who" in the upcoming STARZ series – and as a bonus, a look back at some of the bullets on Amell's pro-wrestling resume – from teaming with Neville (aka AEW's Pac) against Stardust (aka Cody Rhodes) and King Barrett, to an All In face-off with SCU's Christopher Daniels (with some Bullet Club action in-between):
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?
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.
● 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.
Originally spearheaded by Paramount Television in 2017, STARZ serves as lead studio, with Lionsgate TV involved as part of the merger between 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.