Alexander Ludwig on His ‘Heels’ Role: ‘You Love To Hate Him and You Love To Love Him’

In pro wrestling leagues like WWE and AEW, fans root for the faces against the heels. On the Starz drama Heels, viewers get to go behind the scenes and root for the characters outside the ring, too. Vikings star Alexander Ludwig plays Ace Spade, the brother of Duffy Wrestling League owner Jack Spade (Stephen Amell). Ace is the face of the DWL and Jack is a heel in and out of the ring. 

Heels: Alexander Ludwig and Kelli Berglund in the ring
Alexander Ludwig and Kelli Berglund | Starz

Ludwig spoke with reporters in a Zoom roundtable on Aug. 3 about his role on Heels. He described the complexity of Ace that appealed to him, and he hopes appeals to viewers, too. New episodes of Heels air Sundays on Starz.

Alexander Ludwig says Ace Spade can go either way 

Ace is the face in the DWL but behind the scenes, he feuds with Jack over the direction of his storyline. Ludwig relishes the complexity of Heels’ characters.

“That’s what I always loved about him was that he is a very complex character and you love to hate him and you love to love him,” Ludwig said. “Because I think that in a weird way, all of us can see ourselves in these characters.”

‘Heels’ gives reasons for Ace Spade’s personality 

The Spades are keeping the DWL going because it was their father’s dream. After their father died, Jack took over leaving Ace to perform for him.

Alexander Ludwig and Stephen Amell prepare to enter the ring
L-R: Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig | Starz

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“Ace is traumatized by his father’s passing, how his father passed,” Ludwig said. “He just wants to be loved. He’s trying to find his place in the world and feels overshadowed by his brother. He’s got this mounting pressure of this small town expecting him to be the next big thing.”

Alexander Ludwig relates to his ‘Heels’ character

As Heels develops, viewers will learn more about the complexities of Ace Spade. Ludwig revealed he can relate to a lot of the darker aspects of his character.

“It’s hard for me to admit, but I can go to a lot of dark places to be able to play him and a lot of Ace I can relate to,” Ludwig said. “I think that that’s always the staple of great characters is that no one is a caricature in this show. There’s no perfectly right person and there’s no perfectly wrong person. Everybody is perfectly imperfect and watching this kind of calamity take place in front of you in this incredible world is what makes this show exciting.”

Heels: Ace Spade (Alexander Ludwig) sits in the dressing room
Alexander Ludwig | Starz

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The world of wrestling is newer to Ludwig than it was to Amell. Amell wrestled with WWE and performed in Cody Rhodes’ independent events. Ludwig is learning from Heels.

“I think just from a script standpoint and somebody who didn’t know a ton about wrestling, even though as a kid when it was on, I watched it, we have worked really hard to be able to understand characters and develop characters,” Ludwig said. “That’s what drew me, and I think Stephen, to this world in a lot of ways, just how colorful these characters were and how complex.”