Arrow star Stephen Amell wasn't kidding around when he took to Twitter last month to announce he was getting ready to start training for his upcoming indy pro-wrestling-set series STARZ series Heels. What we respected the most about his announcement was the honest reason that came with it – because as much as I'd like to think that the health aspects would be by biggest focus… honestly?
I'd want to look good rockin' spandex on a billboard, too…
I start training for Heels today. Giant billboards with me wearing only a speedo aren't going to fucking make themselves.
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) January 6, 2020
A little more than 1-1/2 months later, Amell tweeted out an update that we're guessing has him feeling pretty good (we're assuming muscle weight?). For a man who never seemed to be in bad shape in the first place, combine professional wrestling training with a 21 pound weight-gain? We're talking massive Amell…
1/6/20 — 192 lbs
2/25/20 — 213 lbs https://t.co/ioF0snzl5Q
— Stephen Amell (@StephenAmell) February 26, 2020
Written by Michael Waldron (Loki), directed by Peter Segal (Shameless), and with Mike O'Malley serving as showrunner, the eight-episode series also stars Alexander Ludwig (Vikings), Broadway actress/musician Alison Luff (Waitress), and Kelli Berglund (Now Apocalypse).
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.
● 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.
● 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 through STARZ in 2017, the series was set for an eight-episode season/series track. 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.