Vikings’ Alexander Ludwig previews ‘real’ stunts in wrestling drama ‘Didn’t pull anything’

Heels: Stephen Amell stars in trailer for STARZ series

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Canadian actor Alexander Ludwig starred as the Viking warrior Bjorn Ironside for over half a decade in the popular History Channel drama. The star is now taking on another immensely physical role in Heels, the brand new drama co-starring Arrow’s Stephen Amell premiering next Sunday on Starz.

The cast of Starz’ brand new wrestling drama Heels performed a number of their own stunts, Alexander Ludwig has claimed.

Formerly a key member of the cast of Vikings, Ludwig stars as troubled pro-wrestler Ace Spade in the upcoming sports series.

While a number of the show’s choreographed fight scenes were pulled off by stunt performers, the actor spoke exclusively to about trying out some tricky wrestling moves first hand.

His first challenge came in the opening episode of the debut series, which required Ludwig to pull off a backflip in the middle of a fight.

He recalled: “I turned to [director Peter Segal] and I’m like, ‘Pete, I’ve got to backflip off a turnbuckle.’

“‘I’ve got to do it in the scene, we need people to see this is real.’

“Things like that, it’s small, but all of these things really add to the realism of the show. It was certainly the most physically demanding show I’ve been a part of.”

Thankfully, many of the show’s stunt performers are wrestlers themselves and were able to guide the cast through Heels’ toughest moments in the ring.

Starz’ upcoming drama kicks off when Ludwig’s Ace ignites a long-standing feud with his fellow wrestling brother, Jack Spade (played by Stephen Amell).

Their rivalry plays out throughout the series both in and out of their small but popular ring in small town Georgia.

As the competition heats up, both brothers struggle to overcome their differences as they’re haunted by their own personal demons.

While the series’ packs a heavy emotional punch at times, Ludwig and Amell’s biggest challenge was to portray professional wrestling as accurately and safely as possible.

Although Stephen Amell had to take two weeks off to recover after hurting his back, his co-star managed to finish the series without sustaining any serious injuries.

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“I fortunately came out relatively unscathed,” Ludwig said.

“But every once and while you’ll be in a wrestling match and you’ll take a bump that’s really hard or someone actually hits you.

He added: “You gotta continue with it, because it’s real.”

One of the hairiest moments of the Heels shoot came towards the end of the series when the show’s two leads realised they had no other option but to go ahead with a particularly painful stunt.

Ludwig explained: “Towards the end of the season, Stephen and I are in the ring together.

“We turned to each other like, ‘We gotta do this for real. And it’s gonna suck.’

“We didn’t pull anything and it was exhausting and it was incredible.”

Despite enduring some of the most physically painful moments of his career, Ludwig called the Heels shoot a ‘tremendous’ experience which brought the cast closer together.

Heels premieres Sunday, August 15 on Starz. Vikings is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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