No matter how big a star Stephen Amell becomes, he has always let his pro wrestling fan flag fly. So it’s no surprise the Canadian would choose Heels as his next project after playing Oliver Queen for eight seasons on Arrow. At the center of the Starz series are Amell’s Jack Spade and his younger brother, Alexander Ludwig’s Ace. The two Georgia boys are working to keep the family-owned wrestling promotion alive to honor their late father.
Amell brings deep-rooted respect for the business portrayed in the gritty drama. He poured over hours of content on the WWE Network.
“I was able to go back and watch Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, and Harley Race and a lot of the older stuff from the South,” Amell told Wrestling Inc. on today’s edition of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. “I canvassed Cody Rhodes and found some stuff to watch. That was extremely helpful. Then when it comes to getting into character, sometimes it’s as simple as hearing your music hit and feeling the reaction of the crowd.
“I can’t say enough about the people we had as extras on the show. They brought so much intensity and had to commit so much to this show as we shot during a pandemic. They were great. That was the prep there. It was on the page. It was all there. [Creator and executive producer] Michael Waldron did such a wonderful job crafting this world.”
The Canadian is no stranger to the ring. Fans may remember Amell teaming with Neville (AEW’s PAC) against King Wade Barrett and Stardust (Cody Rhodes) at SummerSlam in 2015. Then in 2018, he laced up the boots for a battle against Christopher Daniels at All In. He took that base knowledge before really diving into the wrestling scenes on Heels.
“When I did stuff with WWE or Ring of Honor or AEW, it was always during the filming of Arrow, number one. Number two, it was always something I had to jump into really quick,” Amell said.
“This time around I got to spend some time and really focus on the basics. Locking up, hitting the ropes, developing a good punch, learning how to bump. Like really learning how to bump. If you’ve seen any of my matches, you’ll never see me take a flat back bump because I wasn’t confident enough to do it.
“I was worried I was going to snap my head. I can handle a bruise on my chest or getting my shoulder slammed into something or a knife-edge chop to the chest. But if you ring your bell in the middle of a match, and you don’t know where you are, that was going to be problematic. It was really focusing on the fundamentals. Really focusing on them was fun and showed me even more how much respect these professional wrestlers deserve.”
The question remains if we’ll see Amell compete again after bringing Jack Spade to life on the screen. He leaves the door open. Going as far as to have a potential opponent in mind.
“My man-crush on Kevin Owens is alive and well. I love the way that guy works and the way he works a crowd. Cody and I have been circling a singles match for the longest time. I know that he’d take care of me and that we can tell a story in there. You’re going to have to convince my wife first ultimately.”
For Amell, professional wrestling is one of the greatest interests he has had in his life. He hopes Heels could be a vehicle for new fans to fall in love with this unique form of entertainment.
“Any fan of pro wrestling has a little bit of a chip on their shoulder because they will feel they are being marginalized or looked down at or sneered at or scoffed at, whatever the case may be,” Amell said.
“To in a way be an ambassador for professional wrestling, even if we can convert one person, it would have been worth it. Personally, I think we can do better than that. I really do. You don’t have to like professional wrestling in order to watch this show. Would it help? Sure. What we do in the ring is fun, but it’s the people. It’s the relationships that really ultimately define the show.”
Heels will premiere at 9 p.m. ET on August 15 across all Starz platforms.
Powered by RedCircle