Heels showrunner Mike O’Malley has weighed in about strike comments made about Stephen Amell, who called the SAG-AFTRA strike “myopic,” “incredibly frustrating” and a “reductive negotiating tactic” earlier this summer.
While talking to EW about his desire to find a new home for Heels, the wrestling-and-family drama that was just canceled by Starz, O’Malley was asked to reflect on what his star said during the heat of the summer labor dispute.
While appearing at Galaxycon in Raleigh, NC, in July, Amell said, “I support my union, I do, and I stand with them, but I do not support striking, I don’t I think it is a reductive negotiating tactic, and I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating. And I think the thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I’m on [Heels], that premiered last night, I think it’s myopic.”
“Well, I called Stephen and I spoke to him about it. What he was trying to talk about is that he loved the show, and he had an incredible pride in the show,” O’Malley told EW. “We knew that [the strike] was going to distract from the hard work that the people in both the WGA, of which I’m a member, and SAG-AFTRA, were doing. And I knew that immediately because I had been on the picket line. When I heard and I called him up, I said, ‘Stephen, man, we all got to stand together.’ He got it immediately. I just think it was an unfortunate moment. I genuinely think that he put his foot in his mouth. He felt bad about it. My initial reaction was just like, ‘Ah man, I know how this is going to play, and I’ve got to talk to him about it because I don’t think he meant it to come across the way that it did.’ I think he was basically saying was what a lot of people were saying, which was that they were frustrated that they couldn’t work. But I know where his heart is, and his heart is standing with his union.”
Now that the WGA strike is over, O’Malley is hoping to find a new home for Heels and is actively shopping the series to other nets. Starz canceled Heels as well as Run The World and Blindspotting earlier this week; it also decided not to move forward with The Venery of Samantha Bird. Heels revolves around the men and women who chase their dreams in the world of small-town pro wrestling. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, it follows a family-owned wrestling promotion as two brothers and rivals (Amell and Alexander Ludwig) war over their late father’s legacy.
“I really do think it’s going to have a life someplace else,” says O’Malley, who also appears on the show as promoter Charlie Gully. “We did not intend, nor do we intend, for [the season 2 finale] to be the last episode of the show.”