Many people have probably had contact with the wrestling ever. Not for practicing it, but for having seen fights on television or in different weekend shows. The same thing happened to Alexander Ludwig, the remembered Bjorn in Vikings, who perhaps a few years ago would never have imagined starring in a series about wrestling. Is about Heels, an original production of StarzPlay that premieres this Sunday worldwide.
Ludwig’s life to Ace Spade, one of the protagonists of this story about two professional wrestling brothers. Jack, the eldest, is played by Stephen Amell, whom fans of Arrow They will remember him for his leading role in that series. The actors come together in this complex drama that not only speaks and introduces us to the world of wrestling, it also invites us to reflect and accompany a family that must recover from the painful loss of the patriarch of the family, Jack’s father. and Ace.
His death forces the brothers to join together to carry on the business of wrestling fights that they have in a small town in Georgia, United States. But of course the differences between the two will come to light. While Jack must put on the disguise of “strong”, Ace, a little more rebellious, deep down will only try to find his place in the world after this tragedy. Spoiler, we had the opportunity to chat with Alexander Ludwig before the premiere of Heels, where he talked about how this character and the series itself implied a great challenge for his career.
StarzPlay premieres Heels starring Alexander Ludwig.
Alexander Ludwig He began his acting career at a very young age. Born in Vancouver, Canada, in May 1992, he knew that he wanted to dedicate himself to acting at the age of 9. This is how he expressed his decision to his parents and although at first they did not take it so well, over time, they saw how his son enjoyed being on stage and, of course, they supported his passion.
After some appearances in commercials, in 2000, Ludwig made his film debut in the film Air Bud: World Pup. So while I was studying at school, I worked on the big screen and also on television. But it was not until the age of 12 that he got an immense opportunity by being in a casting to join the cast of The Hunger Games. Be in the saga of Suzanne Collins allowed him to be cast two years later to be Bjorn in the second season of Vikings. His character became so important in the story that he was in until the end of the series with delivery number 6.
Today at 29 he faces a new challenge giving life to Ace Spade, a complex young man who finds no way out of the pain and suffering left by the sudden death of his father. But, of course, in addition to this it required enormous physical effort to have to immerse himself in the world of wrestling.
– Heels is a film about two brothers and professional wrestlers. Did you know anything about wrestling or was it something totally new?
-When I was a boy I did see some wrestling shows, but I didn’t follow it too much. So it was pretty new to me.
-And did you have contact with a professional wrestler to understand this universe?
-Yes, fortunately, I grew up watching Dwayne Johnson as a boy and when I was older I worked with a partner of his, Edge in the WWE, we work together on Vikings. We train to Heels. Months and months of training. So we worked with a family of professional wrestlers, a guy named Shadow Guerrera from a huge family of WWE wrestlers … we were there for months and then in Atlanta, we trained with wrestlers from all over, they were on set all the time. So we basically if we weren’t exercising, we were training for wrestling.
– And the training was hard? Was it difficult for you?
Yes, it really was one of the most demanding physical experiences I have ever been a part of. Also because you use parts of your body that sometimes you don’t use that much. It may be tough, but it is an incredible experience to learn. The hardest part is understanding that there is nothing false about professional wrestling. When you fall out of the ring and land on the ground, it is really happening and you feel it in your body. It is very painful. Many times. It takes time for your body to understand. It is quite an experience.
-Speaking specifically of your character, Ace Spade. Well, he is a bit arrogant and rebellious. But at the same time I think he is suffering … as if he is trying to find himself. How did you go into his feelings and understand what was happening to him?
Well, unfortunately, I see a lot of him in me a few years ago. I don’t know if I was that stupid … but I did find myself and all that stuff. I think Ace has something of a rockstar to him, but the reality is that he is just a boy who is dealing with the death of his father and is trying to find his place in the world. In this sense, I think many can see something of them in these characters. So this show seems incredible to me. Because it’s not just about wrestling or this crazy world, it’s about ordinary people, about real life and real relationships.
-The relationship of these brothers, Jack and Ace, is the center of the story, of course. How did you work with Stephen Amell in this connection, in this relationship?
-You know I always knew that Jack was going to be very important for the show and the reality is that I could not have a better partner. Stephen is an excellent actor and human. He cares a lot, shares my passion and also for the wrestling community. So, I am really very lucky to have found a brother in him.
-And why do you think the relationship between them is so complicated? Is it possible that they are still dealing with the death of their father?
-Yes, definitely. Yes, obviously there is a question of masculinity or attitude. Like this idea of speaking of the other as weak. I think Jack and Ace can do anything but talk about it. So they are really struggling to find a place in the world. They really believe that there is something out there for them and they want more. And that’s what it’s all about. From people who want more love. And they will do whatever it takes to find it, even if they are struggling with their ties.
-Will we see some kind of transformation in Ace? Will he surprise us in the series?
Absolutely. Ace surprises me every day. He is all over the place and that is the brilliance of this character. And that’s the best present for me. He… he is everything. He can be good, bad, right or wrong, but he is never not entertaining. He’s … I’ve always wanted to play a character like that.
-And when you read the script, what was your impression? What caught your attention to get involved?
-I could not say no. I think the world was phenomenal, the characters were phenomenal, and I think the key to a show’s success always begins with the characters, with whom people can relate to. It’s about family, real relationships… because we see it. It’s like you can’t not feel the explosion of those characters, if there are no characters like these, neither is there a successful show. The audience is not stupid, at the end of the day. The reality is that people are interested in what happens to these people, to these characters.
I didn’t really know much about professional wrestling, but I still couldn’t say no to the script. So for me that was it. And I told myself that I want to play this young man, I believe in history…. We all feel that way. Everyone believes that there is more to life. We all try to find ourselves at some point, while we must struggle with our existence, some more than others. So this series isn’t just about wrestling, it’s about ordinary people.
-And in one of the scenes of the series you speak Spanish, a little. Very short sentences. You speak Spanish?
-Waiting. Where? When?
-When you order two drinks at the bar … You say …
-Oh … yeah, yeah … It’s a lot of fun. “Two please”. I had forgotten about that, it’s a lot of fun, yeah. In Canada, where I’m from, you have to learn French and I couldn’t. So I said “I need to study Spanish”, French alone I can’t. I started and loved it. Unfortunately, I am not fluent in Spanish. I can only say “Hi, my name is Alejandro, how are you?”
-At only 29 years old, but you already have an interesting career in film and television. Bjorn from Vikings, of course, is one of your most popular characters. Do you identify with any? You said you identified with Ace, but with someone else?
-Well, I think … I think I identify with all my characters … because if I don’t identify … I think (don’t quote me on this because I want to have a job later) but I think if you’re playing a serial killer, you should identify with him… it’s about finding… I mean, you can’t judge your characters. You know what I’m saying? Let’s say you have to believe it, so it’s like putting yourself in a place that is not yours. And with Ace, unfortunately, the truth is that I identify a lot with him. He’s a mess and I’ve been there, I’ve been an absolute mess trying to figure out where to go. And many people too. And Bjorn … Bjorn is like he’s literally … He’s his father’s driving force and I’ve been there for many years too.
So I think that in each character, I find something that can identify me. And that’s what I like about acting, in a weird way, but it’s like therapy, you know. You go deep and it’s like you wonder why do I see so much of myself in this character? In each scene, you find something personal, I see something very personal to me …
-Yes, yes and you did very well with Ace. I loved the performance and the series. So congratulations. Will we see you in Argentina one day? Did you visit Argentina?
-Oh yeah, my god, I’d love to. In fact, I will go to Patagonia in November to enjoy those great heights of Argentina. I spent time in Uruguay, which is very close to you. I love that area of the world, I would really love to spend more time there. I can’t wait to travel the world again.
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