Arrow vet Stephen Amell happily shifts from hero to heel for winning sports drama Heels.
The former Oliver Queen strips down to play wrestling aficionado Jack Spade, the ambitious owner of Georgia’s modest Duffy Wrestling League (DWL). In the ring, he’s a villain, while Jack’s irresponsible baby bro Ace (Vikings’ Alexander Ludwig) is the savior—the face.
Amell tells us why Heels is as much about family as it is about wrestling.
So, is Heels similar to Friday Night Lights, the football drama that won viewers over with small-town stories about family and friends?
Stephen Amell: A hundred percent! The wrestling is the icing here. The cake is a family of wrestlers, and the dynamics between Jack and Ace, Jack and his wife Staci [Alison Luff], Ace and his valet Crystal [Kelli Berglund], and Jack’s business partner Willie [Mary McCormack] and their rival Bill [Chris Bauer]. You have to care about the relationships. Otherwise, you can just watch some awesome wrestling clip on YouTube.
How close are Jack and Ace to their ring personas?
Ace is trying to make up for his real shortcomings by playing the virtuous guy. Jack, who takes care of everyone [outside of the ring], gets to vent his frustrations by calling [the fans] losers.
But Jack writes the scripts. How does that affect their bond?
Jack pushed Ace into wrestling because he saw a potential to make money. He wants to transform DWL into a national competitor.
What will stand in his way to grow DWL?
This season’s big bad, Charlie Gulley [played by executive producer Mike O’Malley], runs an upstart league called Wrestling Dystopia, and he starts picking off Jack’s people by offering them more money.
How realistic are the matches we see?
In an upcoming scene, Jack’s opponent goes off script and the fight turns real. We really had to go for it, and the director almost yelled “Cut!” several times because he thought we were actually fighting!
Heels, Series Premiere, Sunday, August 15, 9/8c, Starz