Ryan Nemeth – who recently appeared on All Elite Wrestling’s Dynamite show and whose brother is WWE veteran Dolph Ziggler – wrote HEEL in January 2019, and it has added relevancy the wake of the #SpeakingOut movement, which was sparked in June last year and saw people from all levels of addressing the dark side of the industry.
My Valentine director Maggie Levin brought the fictional story to life as a 10-minute film, but a number of top stars have also played a part.
As noted by Sports Illustrated, Ryan – who takes a starring role in the project – is joined by his brother Dolph (real name Nick Nemeth), stunt co-ordinator Chavo Guerrero and Ring of Honor/New Japan wrestler Brody King.
Both WWE’s Ruby Riott and IMPACT Wrestling’s Matt Cardona are on board as producers, and the film received financial backing from The Miz, John Morrison and the late Brodie Lee.
Ryan told the publication: ‘I am floored each time I see how many amazing people believed in this and helped make it happen.
‘Everyone we worked with is so talented. Rodney Munoz is an Emmy-winning wardrobe designer, another one of our producers was Jeff Tremaine from Jackass and we had more financial backers, like Scott Derrickson, who is a filmmaker from Dr. Strange, and Sam Richardson, who starred in Veep.’
A grassroots fundraising campaign also helped bring HEEL to life, with filming completed in November 2019 and post-production finalised over the summer.
There are plans to release the film – which was unveiled with its first trailer this month – later in 2021.
Ryan added: ‘This film is entirely a work of fiction, but it is based on disturbing events that a lot of people have been privy to in wrestling.
‘Over the past summer, that became very public with the #SpeakingOut movement. It was pretty awesome to see people speaking out get so much support this summer, but it sucks that sexual assault exists at all within wrestling.
‘I hope that HEEL serves as a catalyst to keep this conversation open and keeps people talking.’
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