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With their upcoming pilot season of “Heels” set to premiere on Starz Aug. 15, Alexander Ludwig (of “Vikings” fame) and Stephen Amell (of the long-running “Arrow”) have a new legacy to look forward to. The two play brothers and wunderkind wrestlers Ace and Jack Spade, who are navigating their complicated relationship and professional aspirations. We sat down with both actors as part of our first-ever Instagram Live Room to talk about the new series, their journeys in the industry, and the advice they have for young actors.
Though Ludwig wanted to move on from TV, when he read the script for “Heels,” he was hooked.
Alexander Ludwig: “I just fell in love with the story and the characters. It’s such a colorful world and such an incredible story. We were definitely reluctant to hop onto another TV series, but at the end of the day, it’s about telling great stories, and I think Stephen and I really connected with this world.”
Amell admits that he started performing in high school for girls’ attention, but now it’s all about his love for the job.
Stephen Amell: “[Acting] was a chance to go from outside of Toronto to Ottawa and hopefully meet girls. I noodled around with it in Canada for seven years, but then, moving to Los Angeles… They always say: Find something you love and make that your career. I love being on set; I love a really hard physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding day and the night’s sleep I get on the other side of it.”
Amell believes that, at a certain point, actors need to relinquish control.
SA: “You have to keep going and eventually get to a spot where you only worry about the things you can control, because I’ve walked into an audition room and I’ve [gotten] down to the final three choices, and I look at the two other guys in there, and it’s very clear we passed the point of the interpretation of the character. Now we’re at the point of how they want the character to look and how they want the look of the ensemble. I look at the other guys, and they are distinctly different from me. So, just focus on what you can control, and try to keep the extraneous stuff [in] the background.”
Ludwig’s best advice is to not get caught up in the idea of a dream job.
AL: “Get rid of that fantasy. If you fantasize when you get an audition and think about how the movie is going to go—first off, that never happens. It’s just not real; it’s a fantasy. But second of all, if you don’t get the job, not only did you lose the job, but you lost the whole dream of what was going to come with it. I think the key for me is trusting that, with persistence, it will happen—just never how I expect it to or when I expect it to.”
This story originally appeared in the Aug. 12 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.
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