Dwayne Johnson has been a character in the wrestling ring and in many movies since he made the jump from grappler to Hollywood superstar. Now his formative years are the subject of a new NBC comedy, “Young Rock.” (Photo: ROBERT HANASHIRO/USA TODAY NETWORK)
PASADENA, Calif. – NBC will soon get its own version of “Young Sheldon,” but this sitcom is about a real person: Dwayne Johnson.
The network announced plans for an 11-episode comedy “Young Rock,” due next season that will explore the “formative years” of Dwayne Johnson, 47, the wrestler-turned-movie-star also known as The Rock. Johnson will appear in every episode, bookending flashbacks to earlier points in his life. But a younger actor or actors, yet to be cast, will portray him.
Rock will produce the series with Nahnatchka Khan (“Don’t Trust the B— in Apt. 23,” “Fresh Off the Boat”), and NBC Entertainment chief Paul Telegdy excitedly unveiled plans at the Television Critics Association Saturday.
Over the years, “I have talked about this wild and unpredictable and unbelievable childhood that I had,” Johnson told reporters via FaceTime.
“I’ve told many many stories, many of them unbelievable, but all of them true. You’ll find Young Rock wreaking havoc in the streets of Hawaii, getting arrested doing a lot of things I shouldn’t do. We were evicted off the island and moved, to all places, Nashville, Tennessee,” he said. “Imagine me being in downtown Nashville, listening to country music at 15 years old, buying my first car from a crackhead for $70. We go into my high school years as Young Rock, and my role as a University of Miami football star, until I got beaten out of my position by a young man named Warren Sapp, who went on to become one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time.
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“Then we (see) Young Rock as a professional wrestler, more importantly at the critical time before WWE, when I was wrestling for $40 a match” in the “parking lots of used car dealers and flea markets. Those were the years that were very formative and helped shape me. Now, what’s crazy about this whole thing … the confluence of wild personalities that came in and out of my life during these times, all these years, are just fascinating. From my heroes Andre the Giant to Muhammad Ali to Ronald Reagan … It was almost as if I’d been told I had the childhood of Forrest Gump, where people weave in and out of my life.”
How will Johnson himself factor into the episode as a narrator or otherwise? “We have found a really cool, fun creative way to weave me into the show, into every episode,” he said, without elaborating. But when he pitched NBC, he said, “at the end, all jaws were dropped, all hands were raised (and NBC said) ‘we are in 100%.’”
NBC has already renewed Johnson’s reality strength competition series “The Titan Games.”
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