Heels has an excellent cast, and Mary McCormack and Chris Bauer are proof of that.

We got details from them on Mary's character, Willie, and Chris's character, Wild Bill, during the Heels press day.

We had a lively discussion with them, and it's also indicative of the characters they play in the new Starz drama. Check it out.

Mary, can you tell me a little bit about your character from your perspective, about Willie?

Mary: Yeah, I love playing Willie. I mean, we've been talking a lot about it today, so I'm thinking about it more and more, but I think, at first glance, you think like, oh, she's so in control, and she's running the place, and she makes the trains run on time, and she has to police all these wrestlers and keep their egos in check and manipulate everything to make it all work.

But I think when you see her personal life, you get a, I mean, Michael Waldron and Mike O'Malley did such a good job in not making her two-dimensional. Like we're going to have a strong lady character, right. Because that's not... Everyone is a little bit strong and also messed up in a million ways.

So I love that they are investigating the other sides of Willie too, and I also think one of the interesting parts about her is seeing her in relation to Crystal's character, right?

Because she was also Wild Bill's valet, Willie was, and I think that was what was available to her in that world at that time. And now she's doing this job because that's what's available to her in that world at this time.

But I think she would have been in the ring if she could have been and still probably would love to get in.

So I think her obsession is wrestling. I think her family is, in a weird way, secondary. And I think that's interesting; it's interesting to see that, and you don't always get to see it in a female role.

And also then I think I've wanted to work with Chris Bauer forever and ever and ever. So this is a real treat to watch their dynamic -- Wild Bill and Willie. It was a big love affair, and then life happened, and now it's happening again. And so that's been really fun to play.

So what about you, Chris? Look, he's an outrageous character. What can you tell me about Wild Bill Hancock?

Chris: He's a real catch it's so it's shocking that he's still single. I don't know. Wild Bill is a throwback to old-fashioned showmanship. He is very, very lucid in the carnival vocabulary and incredibly successful at asserting the sort of stereotypical heel dynamic. The heel, the bad guy you love to love.

And he's super, super smart and intuitive and creative, but he's got an ego, and he's got an appetite, and time goes on. Eventually, time doesn't care how much the crowd loves you.

You're going to stumble if you don't adjust with it. And I think that where our show takes place is a point where he's had a lot of success.

He's out on the prowl for the next version of himself, but he doesn't really catch up to the reality, I think, of some of his choices, and he starts to stumble, and he falls.

And that's not a place that he's familiar with at all, but he's the kind of guy. It's the kind of spirit that, it's like the fire that you can't quite put out, but it's getting close, and that's enough, I think, to scare maybe a new humility into him because what happens during the show is he really starts to rely on other people in ways that he hasn't for a long time.

One of whom is Willie. They have a strong connection from the past, and he may not have let go of that, yet, as much as he thought he did. And that's what I like about the show. I think that it's got this vocabulary of wrestling and performance and the big scale of that.

But this show is made up of little moments between people negotiating, how to get through life together. And the cliche is that that's where all the drama is. The fact is that's where a lot of the pain is in this show.

The drama is taking place in the ring, but the real pain and the real need and the real love and the real connection is everything that supports it underneath. And I hope that's visible in the show.

I think it is.

Chris: Good.

And Mary, you already mentioned that it's almost a juxtaposition between her life with wrestling and her life at home. When we first saw her at home, I was taken aback. It was completely unexpected.

How do you think that she sees her life and how she's trying to marry those two sides of her? That really, I don't even know if they connect.

Mary: So interesting. I know we've been talking a lot about that. And when I first saw her house, I was also like, what, what?

And then, so Mike O'Malley and I started talking about it and talking about it and one of the nice things about television, or at least it's nice to me, a lot of people hate it, is that unlike a play and unlike like a movie, you don't know how it ends. Right? You don't even know the next act.

I mean, we're discovering it as we go, but I love that Mike and Michael have written a character dealing with that; she has boxed this other life up.

She has her two worlds, and they don't really connect very much or at all until Wild Bill comes to stay with her, and then everything's upside down.

But I don't know. I'm interested to see where that goes. I'm interested. I think her family life happened -- and I might be wrong; We'll have to ask Michael and Mike - but I think it almost happened by accident.

I think she maybe would have never chosen to be a mother or a wife, but sort of has stumbled into that and knows she needs it and knows that it's the thing that keeps her from being with someone like him.

It's either-or, without the sanity of that anchor almost, she's also crazy. She's a little more like Wild Bill than I think she is like that house at home and that picture of that family. I think she's more in touch with these guys, but I think she knows she'd be off the deep end like him.

And Chris, you've had so many different roles. I don't think any of them have had this kind of physicality for you. If you know what I mean, you are not exactly as we're used to seeing you. What kind of challenge was this for you?

Chris: That's definitely not why I got the part, but this character has been so fun in that. I think the first note I ever got in an acting class is like, throw it away more. Can you try to do that, but half? My natural impulse is really big and really theatrical and really bogus and really attention-getting.

And I've been sitting on that to try to become this fraud master of subtlety. And it was so great just to show up and be as big and obnoxious and obtrusive as my impulse actually is.

I hope I'm not sealing my fate here. And two months from now, people are like, I hate that guy because it does happen. It's happened to me before, but for now, I just love it. I just feel like wrestling is a big enough world to support a character like this.

I've certainly seen evidence of it in real life in the past. And it's just an enormous privilege to try to sort of pay homage to these characters from this world in a way that's authentic and acknowledges their humanity and acknowledges their frailty.

And like Mary said, he's the character personification of that thing in TV. You just don't know what's going to happen next with him. I certainly don't, and I love that. I've never known the endings of things I've worked on, and I wouldn't want to.

Just real fast, each of you. Let's start with you, Chris, and then Mary -- heel or face?

Chris: Gigantic heel.

Mary: Are you asking about me or my character?

Yes, you.

Mary: Oh, me?

[laughing] Yes.

Mary: Golly. Oh, I hope I'm a face. Shit.

Do you want to be a face is the question?

Mary: I'm an aspiring face.

You're my first of the day, so congratulations, Mary!

Mary: Thanks. My character's a heel. [laughs]

source https://www.tvfanatic.com/2021/08/mary-mccormack-and-chris-bauer-discuss-their-large-heels-persona/


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