Written by Michael Waldron (‘Rick and Morty,’ ‘Loki,’ and ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’), with Mike O’Malley (‘The Mike O’Malley Show,’ ‘Shameless,’ and ‘Survivor’s Remorse‘) serving as showrunner, ‘Heels’ is a Starz original sports-based drama production like no other. Set in a close-knit community of a small town in Georgia, it centers around the ambitious group of individuals who wish to make a name for themselves in the world of pro wrestling, only to come face to face with dilemmas they could have never imagined. Since real-life wrestling events have been profiled before (‘Foxcatcher’), let’s find out if this is inspired by them as well.
Is Heels a True Story?
No, ‘Heels’ is not based on a true story. Created and co-produced by Michael Waldron, this slow-burn series follows the story of two brothers and rivals as they grapple over their father’s wrestling business after his unexpected death and national recognition. In the fictional city of Duffy, Georgia, Jack Spade (Stephen Amell) takes on the role of “heel” (a word for the villain in the industry of sporting melees), whereas his younger brother, Ace Spade (Alexander Ludwig), is the “face” of their firm, called Duffy Wrestling League. However, things soon begin to turn around when the well-loved, blond-haired, good boy sibling starts to embraces his inner heel.
Although ‘Heels’ is as fictional as possible, it covers significant aspects of the real world. From Jack juggling his time as a lawnmower salesman and the primary writer of the league’s matches just to keep his father’s dream alive to a veteran exposing the realities of prejudice in athletics, it delves into the struggles of ordinary people under a different light. Moreover, by illustrating what can transpire when someone starts to live in the fictional world initially created for inside the ring, this show also touches upon the essence of work-life balance.
Everyone recognizes that wrestling matches are mostly well-thought-out, transcribed, and choreographed, yet seeing its behind-the-scenes is very new. Thus, for Michael Waldron, a fan of the sport since he was a little kid, getting to tell a tale like this is truly a dream come true. He recently spoke to CBR and said, “It’s a dream come true to get any show made but to get to make a show about a sport in a world that I’ve been taken with since I was a little kid… It’s very exciting, very full circle. It makes my parents feel better about all the time they let me stay up late, watching wrestling.”
“My hope is that through the show, we can celebrate some of the beauty of wrestling, the comradery of it,” he added. “And what we tried to really show is that this is…Wrestling’s an artistic endeavor; these guys and girls are storytellers in the ring. And that’s the thing you don’t know…it’s theater. It’s show business. I love that.” To this, Mike O’Malley appended that individuals become a part of something greater when work is a team composition, which is present in every industry, so there is a lot of emotional involvement that becomes inspiring and pressuring at the same time. Yet, no matter the profession, the results are always worth it.
Read More: Where is Heels Filmed?