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Heels - What We Know So Far

When one thinks about the makings of prestige prime-time television dramas, tales of conflicted cops, languid lawyers, and daring doctors typically come to mind. These days you might also think about normal folks committing unfathomable crimes, or possibly even sword-wielding anti-heroes and fire-breathing dragons. One subject that almost certainly would not cross the mind of most TV lovers in need of a little soul-stirring drama is that of professional wrestling. That's largely due to the fact that — in spite of its rampant popularity with viewers of a certain age, and the undeniable skill of the performers involved — pro wrestling programs are often just unbearably, if also unabashedly silly.

Even still, if bruising films like Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" and Stephen Merchant's "Fighting With My Family" have taught us anything, it's that legitimate human drama is indeed unfolding behind the scenes of those absurdist wrestling spectacles. And perhaps in the spirit of those lauded wrestling pictures, Starz network is going all-in on a bold new sports drama called "Heels" that'll take viewers further into the world of professional wrestlers than ever before. Here's everything we know about "Heels" so far.

When will Heels be released?

As it happens, "Heels" has been in development at Starz for a few years now. And one has to wonder if the series didn't make it into production earlier because the network was a touch afraid to bet big on a small screen wrestling drama. The impressive 2019 theatrical run of "Fighting With My Family" no doubt helped grease the wheels a bit, however, as production on "Heels" ramped up soon after. And it obviously helped that the series was created and written by Michael Waldron, who's become one of Marvel Studios' go-to creatives in the past couple of years, penning the upcoming "Doctor Strange in the Multi-verse of Madness" before serving as creator, head writer, and showrunner on the Disney+ streaming series "Loki."

Just FYI — Waldron has also been tabbed to write Kevin Feige's upcoming "Star Wars" film if that sort of thing matters to you. As for Waldron's "Heels," the series finally got before cameras late in 2020 with veteran director Peter Segal calling the shots and is soon to make its debut on Starz. If you're intrigued by what you've read so far and want to give "Heels" a shot, go ahead and mark August 15, 2021 down on your calendar, 'cause that's when the show will throw down against all comers in the land of extended cable.

Who is in the cast of Heels?

While Michael Waldron's name and current A-list status almost certainly helped kick the "Heels" production into high gear, so too must have the attachment of the series' star, Stephen Amell. If that name sounds familiar to you, it's because Amell spent nearly a decade kicking ass as Oliver Queen in the sprawling CW superhero saga "Arrow." With "Arrow" finally behind him, Amell was quick to latch onto a decidedly different sort of series ... one that fully indulged one of his most cherished past-times, wrestling. And for those who didn't know, or have chosen to forget, Amell himself has actually gotten into the ring with a legit pro or two over the year, most memorably doing so in a 2015 SummerSlam appearance.

With the wrestling-loving Amell on board as "Heels" lead Jack Spade, the search soon began to find his rival (and onscreen brother) Ace. That search culminated with the casting of "Vikings" vet Alexander Ludwig. With those key roles cast, other pieces soon started falling into place with the likes of 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 helping round out the series' impressive lineup.

What is the plot of Heels?

Now that we know when "Heels" is hitting Starz, and who's gonna be in it, the real question is what the heck is the show about? And as you might've guessed, wrestling is merely the hook, ultimately serving as the thrilling backdrop for a stark family drama about rival brothers (Amell and Ludwig) in a small Georgia town struggling to come to terms with their lot in life, and ultimately trying to dig their way out by making a name for themselves on the small-town wrestling promotion established by their late father (Elliot).

The title of the show "Heels" is actually taken from the wrestling term for a villainous character whose primary goal in the ring is to generate hatred from fans and ensure they're pulling for the "Face," the would-be hero of a pre-scripted narrative. Given the setup for "Heels," it should come as no surprise that Amell and Ludwig are indeed cast as "Heel" and "Face" throughout, with each seeking to leverage their respective roles into a spot on a national wrestling circuit. In doing so, their rivalry takes on a new intensity that'll either bring them closer together or rip them apart for good. All in, "Heels" is shaping up to be a compelling mashup of "Fighting With My Family," "The Wrestler," and 2011's grossly-underrated MMA drama "Warrior." And if you've seen any or all of those films, you know what an intriguing prospect that is. You can check "Heels" out for yourself on Starz starting August 15.