Back at the beginning of 2020, before we knew what trying times lay ahead, NBC announced a new series called Young Rock, a chronicle of the life of Dwayne Johnson as a kid, teen, college football player, and amateur wrestler. Now production is finally kicking off, and The Rock himself has revealed the main cast who will bring his story to life, including at least three different versions of himself. Get a look at the Young Rock cast below alongside real pictures of Johnson and his family.
First up, here are two of the older versions of Dwayne Johnson, as revealed in a series of posts on Instagram:
On the left, we have the 15-year old version of Dwayne Johnson, who looks more like a man at 15 than some people at 30. Bradley Constant is taking the role, which will include a “wild and unpredictable childhood and formative years,” according to Johnson.
Then, on the right, there’s Uli Latukefu as the college version of The Rock, when he was playing football at the University of Miami. Johnson says these years were some of his most defining and added, “The highs are incredible, but the lows were critical.”
But Johnson offered up many more details about the youngest version of himself at 10 years old. Adrian Groulx landed the role of “Little Dewey,” which Johnson acknowledges as the unfortunate nickname that his Godparents gave him, inspired by dewdrops. Johnson said:
“At 10 years old, I was rambunctious as all hell, was already girl crazy and loved pro wrestling — especially the part when wrestlers would bleed. I was all these things but at the core I was a sweet little boy and a complicated little cub who just needed guidance. Years later here we are and I did alright.”
We’re not entirely sure how the format of the show will work when it comes to jumping around in these various periods of Dwayne Johnson’s life. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s constant flashing forward and backward, perhaps tying events from these different periods into one another for a larger message.
As for the rest of the cast, Johnson also revealed who will be playing his mother and father on the show:
That’s Stacey Leilua as Ata Johnson, who was a cancer survivor. As her son notes, she went through hell and back, but she never stopped being “the sweetest human being on the planet.” Then we have Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky “Soulman” Johnson. He was the original Rock, responsible for breaking color barriers in wrestling throughout the ’60s, ’70s and 80s’. Johnson calls his father “a bad dude in the game,” and this role is a meaningful one since he passed away earlier this year. The first episode of the show will be dedicated to him.
Finally, we have Dwayne Johnson’s grandmother Lia Maivia, who will be played by Ana Tuisila. She was the first female promoter in professional wrestling, and The Rock said, “She had to be tough as nails in a male dominated, shark infested world of wrestling.” That toughness helped her get through a rough time in her life when she was charged with extortion, deported from the United States, became homeless, and lost everything she had in the early 1990s. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that comes into play through her character on the show.
Back when the show was first announced, this is how Johnson described it
“We’re going to find Young Rock, for example, wreaking havoc in the streets of Hawaii when I was a very young teenager, getting arrested seemingly every single week, doing a lot of things I shouldn’t have been doing. Still a good kid. Then from there of course we were evicted off the island and forced to leave the island and move to of all places Nashville, TN where again I continued to get in trouble. Then we go into my high school years, and then onto Young Rock as a University of Miami football star, if you will, until I got beat out of my position by a guy by the name of Warren Sapp, who just happened to go on to become one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time.”
So there’s a lot of ground to cover with this show. Since it’s being executive produced by Nanatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang, the team that created the ABC comedy Fresh Off the Boat, I’m betting this series will feel something like that, though perhaps with a more dramatic punch. Plus, in addition to executive producing, The Rock himself will be appearing in the series in some capacity, woven throughout the narrative.
Young Rock doesn’t have a premiere date yet, but it will likely debut on NBC early next year.
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