HomeInterviewsInside the Ring: An Interview with Chris Bauer & Mary McCormack of...

Inside the Ring: An Interview with Chris Bauer & Mary McCormack of Heels

Photo Credit: STARZ

When Heels premieres on Starz, audiences will recognize more than a few faces, including Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) in the main roles.

But they’re not alone in the cast (nor Stephen in his love of pro wrestling) as the show benefits from two veterans of the log form drama. Chris Bauer (True Blood, The Deuce) and Mary McCormack (The West Wing, In Plain Sight) take on the roles of former wrestler, “Wild” Bill Hancock, and valet-turned-promoter, Willie Day.

Within the series, Wild Bill and Willie represent a look at what lies ahead for those in the wrestling world. Well past his physical prime, Wild Bill works as a talent scout for wrestling’s big leagues and is in the small Georgia town of Duffy with his eye on Ace Spade (Alexander Ludwig.) Willie worked in a bygone era when pretty girls were mostly relegated to the role of “pretty girl” but now splits time between her upscale home life and running the ins-and-outs of Duffy Wrestling League.

As fans of wrestling (unfortunately) know, theirs are two “better case scenarios.” In an industry that is only now moving past the culture of using human bodies to feed the machine of ticket sales and TV ratings, being able to walk upright and still work in the business while middle-aged is not guaranteed. For Willie, it has taken her all that time in order to build up the reputation and respect as a producer. Wild Bill trades on that same recognition from his career in order to do his job and gain access to small promotions that know he’s there to ultimately take away their brightest stars.

During a roundtable discussion, the pair discussed:

-Chris Bauer’s tendency to be cast in unlikable roles (and his wife’s theory as to why!)
-Mary McCormack’s Willie Day taking charge in the “man’s world” of pro wrestling
-Their mutual admiration for show-runner Mike O’Malley’s writing
-Chris’ real-life mega-fandom for independent wrestling and the legendary Terry Funk
-Their theories regarding Wild Bill’s necessary ego and Willie’s seeming grouchiness
-How pro wrestling choreography and acting a scene require a similar give-and-take
-The Friday Night Lights vibe that Mary got from the first script
-Their decades of having worked with and around each other since their early 20s
-Leading by example in an environment of less experienced cast
-Mary learning that, even in wrestling, you can’t fake landing on the floor

Heels starring Mary McCormack & Chris Bauer premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on STARZ.


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