Mike O’Malley Comments On Building Out A Rival Promotion Storyline, Licensing TNA Wrestling Footage For ‘Heels’
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Starz
The team behind Heels was willing to go to extra lengths to make their story as realistic as possible.
Mike O’Malley recently spoke with WrestleZone about the process involved in licensing footage from real-life wrestling promotions to help with the story of their fictional ‘Duffy Wrestling League’ on the show.
O’Malley not only serves as the showrunner on Heels, but he’s also featured as an actor on the new STARZ series. O’Malley plays Charlie Gully, the owner of “Florida Wrestling Dystopia,” a rival promotion to the DWL owned by Stephen Amell’s Jack Spade, and some of the commercials for FWD use archived footage from TNA Wrestling featuring wrestlers like Samoa Joe and Abyss.
Asked how they decided on using that footage and what went into creating the fictional promotion, O’Malley said there’s plenty of variables to consider, including budget and context.
“One of the things that’s so tough about doing a wrestling show, especially if you’re doing a wrestling show about one particular promotion, the fictional DWL [for Heels], is how you’re going to then have this whole other ‘rival’ storyline, cast all those actors and to do all that. We just licensed their material because, in order for us to show what Jack was up against in those first couple episodes, we actually had to show that type of wrestling, what they were doing at the rival promotion was doing was something a little bit more gory, a little bit more violent, a little bit more pronounced,” O’Malley explained, “and the only way to do that was to get actual footage.
“It’s… look, making a television show is expensive and you got to sort of decide how you’re going to do that. We go deeper into what’s called ‘Florida Wrestling Dystopia’ later in the season, where we actually go to the place [the FWD arena where they run events]. An astute observer like yourself will recognize that we’re using that footage from a real promotion.”
Heels is currently airing on STARZ; episode three features the debut of CM Punk’s Ricky Rabies character and it premieres on Sunday, August 29 at 9 p.m. EST.