Earlier this month, we checked back in to see how things were going with STARZ's Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Alexander Ludwig (Vikings)-starring independent wrestling-set drama Heels. That's when Amell shared a picture of himself "wearing the crimson mask" (face covered with blood while still wrestling)- though we're really hoping that was fake blood (there are certain limits to method acting). Now, we're checking back in for a fresh update- with a few more rounds directly from Amell himself.
First up, Amell found a way to best sum up what the experience has been like for him and the team to finish production of the show's first season. Considering COVID-related days, injuries, etc., an Andy Dufresne/The Shawshank Redemption seems just about right:
But it's the wrestling days that bring the most "magic," according to Amell- along with a special shout-out:
But returning back to the first post and the allegory of the process of getting the series to screen to traveling down a long tunnel of poop, we get a look at a sample of the workout that Amell's going through with training. And let's just say that the salmon ladder from Arrow doesn't look as intimidating anymore:
In Heels, the focus is on 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 Spade (Amell) and Ace Spade (Ludwig) — 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.
In the ring, Amell's Jack Spade is the charismatic villain, or heel, of the Duffy Wrestling League (DWL). 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 DWL 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 DWL. 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…
Written by Michael Waldron (Loki), directed by Peter Segal (Shameless), and with Mike O'Malley serving as showrunner, the series also stars Chris Bauer (For All Mankind), Kelli Berglund (Animal Kingdom), Broadway actress/musician Alison Luff, Allen Maldonado (The Last O.G.), James Harrison (S.W.A.T.), Mary McCormack (The Kids Are Alright), David James Elliott (JAG), and Joel Murray (Mad Men). Waldron and O'Malley are also set to executive produce, alongside LBI Entertainment's Julie Yorn, Chris Donnelly, and Patrick Walmsley. STARZ and Lionsgate TV produce.