AEW superstar CM Punk recently sat down with ET Canada to discuss all things pro-wrestling, including what his experience was like working on the Starz series Heels, and how the perception of pro-wrestling in Hollywood has changed. Highlights are below.
CM Punk on if ‘Heels’ was a therapeutic experience:
Oh for sure. I think therapeutic is a good word for it. It was fun to be involved in something that was wrestling that wasn’t wrestling. There was no politics and none of the silly drama that you have to deal with backstage. I’ve been saying it a lot lately, it was fun just making the art and not worrying about anything else.
CM Punk on how Hollywood’s impression of pro-wrestling has changed over the decades:
I think the meek have inherited the Earth. I think a lot of people who are shot-callers or are on their way to being shot-callers in Hollywood used to be or still are huge professional wrestling fans. I think they grew up watching it, they get it, and now in their chosen profession they get to kind of turn the light onto it, so to speak, shed a little bit more light on it and show it the love that they’ve always given it. Guys like Michael Waldren. He’s writing the next ‘Star Wars movie. The dude loves pro wrestling. He was the writer on ‘Heels’. That’s what I mean by the meek inheriting Earth…
CM Punk on working with Stephen Amell:
I can’t say enough good things about Stephen. I think Stephen is not only an accomplished actor. This is a guy that has gotten into the ring on a number of occasions for a number of different companies. It wasn’t just about., ‘Oh I need to wrestle in the WWE’ for Stephen. It was just, ‘Oh, I need to wrestle.’ He’s wrestled for WWE, he wrestled for Ring of Honor. Before AEW was a thing, he did their one-off show in Chicago. So just a guy who follows his dreams, does what he wants. He’s just such a great dude and I think that lends credibility to both sides of things. It helps ‘Heels’ out tremendously but it also helps out the wrestling side of things. It makes ‘Heels’ feel like more of an authentic show when you have someone attached to it who loves the source material so much.
CM Punk on what he wants to see in a second season of ‘Heels’:
Oh yeah! There are a million things. I think this is a show where we can really do what a show like ‘Friday Night Lights’ did. It’s a show about football, but it’s not really about football. It’s about the people and the family and the characters in this town. I think we can do the same thing with ‘Heels’. I think we can touch on road trips, awful behaviour of wrestlers, steroids, drugs, concussions. This is real and I think we can tell those real-life stories while also peeling back the characters that are just small-town America, Duffy, Georgia. Honestly, the sky’s the limit.
CM Punk on balancing ‘Heels’ and acting duties:
We’re lining things up and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Obviously, it’s built into my deal with AEW that I have the freedom to explore other opportunities. I have such a great relationship with Tony that all it really is, is a conversation. I think the more visible I am, the bigger roles I get, I think it’ll help AEW internally. That being said, I am being pulled in a couple of different directions, but my heart is 100 per cent behind every project that I do. AEW being one of them. It’s going to be a busy year, but it’s going to be a good one.