Stories of conflicted cops, languid attorneys, and daring doctors come to mind as one speaks of prestige prime-time tv dramas. Ordinary citizens, as well as sword-wielding anti-heroes and fire-breathing dragons, can come to mind these days. When most viewers are hoping for a little soul-stirring drama on TV, professional wrestling is almost certainly not on their minds.
That’s partly because, considering their overwhelming popularity within a certain age group and the undeniable talent of the wrestlers involved, pro wrestling shows are often unbearable, if not outright ridiculous, to watch.
Even so, films like Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” and Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” have shown us that true human drama occurs behind the scenes of such absurdist wrestling shows.
And, perhaps in the tradition of those acclaimed wrestling films, Starz is betting big on a modern sports drama called “Heels,” which will immerse viewers in the world of professional wrestlers like never before. Here’s all we know about the upcoming “Heels” movie.
Heels – Release Date
As it happens, “Heels” has been in development at Starz for quite some time. And one has to wonder if the series didn’t get off the ground earlier because the network was afraid to risk a wrestling soap on a small screen. However, as work on “Heels” rapidly ramped up, the strong theatrical run of “Fighting For My Family” in 2019 no doubt helped grease the wheels a bit.
It also helped that Michael Waldron, who has rapidly identified himself as one of Marvel Studios’ go-to authors in recent years, penning the forthcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” before acting as director, head creator, and showrunner on the Disney+ streaming series “Loki,” created and wrote the show.
If that’s something you’re interested in, Waldron has also been hired to write Kevin Feige’s forthcoming “Star Wars” script.
Waldron’s “Heels” was eventually shot late in 2020 under the guidance of veteran producer Peter Segal and is expected to premiere on Starz shortly.
If what you’ve read so far has piqued your curiosity and you want to give “Heels” a shot, mark August 15, 2021 on your schedule, because that’s when the show will compete in the land of expanded cable against all comers.
Heels – Cast Details
Though Michael Waldron’s name and current A-list status undeniably helped the production of “Heels,” Stephen Amell, the series’ star, must have played a part as well. If Amell’s name looks familiar, it’s because he played Oliver Queen in the CW superhero series “Arrow” for nearly a decade.
With “Arrow” behind him, Amell quickly went on to a display that allowed him to completely engage in one of his favourite pastimes: wrestling. For those who don’t know or want to forget it, Amell has actually walked into the ring with a genuine pro or two this year, most specifically at SummerSlam 2015.
With Amell on board as “Heels” chief Jack Spade, the search for his competitor (and on screen brother) Ace started right away.
Alexander Ludwig, a veteran of “Vikings,” was cast in the role. Mary McCormack (“Private Parts”), Kelli Berglund (“Animal Kingdom”), Chris Bauer (“The Deuce”), David James Elliot (“JAG”), Alison Luff (“New Amsterdam”), Duke Davis Roberts (“The Good Lord Bird”), and former NFL linebacker James Harrison helped round out the series’ impressive roster.
Heels – Plot Details
Now that we know where and who will star in “Heels,” the only question is: what will the episode be about? Wrestling serves as the entertaining backdrop for a stark family drama about rival brothers (Amell and Ludwig) in a small Georgia town trying to come to terms with their lot in life, and eventually attempting to make a name for themselves on their late father’s small-town wrestling promotion (Elliot).
The title of the show is taken from a wrestling term for a villainous character whose main goal in the ring is to inspire crowd hatred and guarantee that they cheer for the “Face,” a pre-scripted story’s would-be hero. It’s no joke that Amell and Ludwig are cast as “Heel” and “Face” in “Heels,” with both seeking to capitalise on their respective positions in order to land a spot on the national wrestling circuit.
As a result, their competition gains a new degree of intensity, which would either unite them or break them apart for good.
Overall, “Heels” seems to be a compelling blend of “Fighting For My Family,” “The Wrestler,” and the underappreciated MMA drama “Warrior” from 2011. And whether you’ve watched any or any of those movies, you know how thrilling it is. You will see “Heels” for yourself on Starz from August 15.