My formative years, also known as my “Forrest Gump” years were wildly unbelievable, yet incredibly all true. 🤦🏽♂️— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 12, 2020
Ladies & gents, we bring you our exciting new comedy series, “YOUNG ROCK”. @NBC@SevenBucksProd #FierceBabyProductions pic.twitter.com/1AN8AJ8BnU
Young Rock, the recently announced scripted single-camera comedy series ordered by NBC, will show "the good, the bad, the ugly," and the "always funny" from the formative years of star and producer Dwayne Johnson. The peacock network gave the show, backed by Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, an 11-episode straight-to-series order after a pitch from Johnson and Fresh Off the Boat creator and executive producer Nahnatchka Khan, who co-wrote the pilot with writing partner Jeff Chiang and produces through Fierce Baby Productions. Johnson will appear in each episode of Young Rock, described by the superstar as a close look at Johnson’s “Forrest Gumpian childhood.”
Detailing the project in a video published to Twitter, Johnson says Young Rock explores his "wild and unpredictable and unbelievable childhood." The series touches on Johnson’s adolescence and other formative years, including his celebrated tenure as a football player for the University of Miami as well as his wrestling days before the WWE.
"What’s unreal about these times and these years, these eras in my life, is the confluence of personalities that had come in and out of my life, weaved in and out of my life," Johnson says in the video. "I’ve had a lot of my friends over the years say that I had a very Forrest Gumpian childhood growing up, where my mentors, my heroes — from Muhammad Ali, to André the Giant, you name it, to Ronald Reagan — all [come] in and out of my life."
In Young Rock, audiences are going to see "young Rock as I was wreaking havoc in my early teens in the streets of Hawaii," Johnson says, including "getting arrested, seemingly every week, doing things I shouldn’t have been doing."
Johnson recalls his “tough-as-nails” grandmother, professional wrestling promoter Lia Maivia, a “trailblazer in the greatest way for women in the world of professional wrestling” and “one of the first, if not arguably the most successful female wrestling promoter of all time.”
When his family was evicted and later forced out of Hawaii, Johnson found himself in Nashville, Tennessee, where a 15-year-old Johnson was "running around the streets of Downtown Nashville, [Lower Broad area], hanging out in honky-tonks, drinking when I shouldn’t have been drinking." There Johnson had a fantasy of pursuing a career as a country music singer, performing traditional country music and following the footsteps of hero Willie Nelson.
The "crazy years" explored in Young Rock include Johnson's time in high school, when "everybody thought that I was an undercover cop, which made my life miserable."
"Because I was already 6’4” and 225 pounds, and I looked like I was 48 years old at 15," Johnson says, adding his years at the University of Miami “really defined" him as a young man. It's all part of a rags to riches story that makes for an "exciting show."
"We are all very excited," Johnson says. "It’s an exciting time at NBC, an exciting time at us for Seven Bucks Productions to be able to share these early years."
Johnson then confirms audiences will see a younger Johnson as a professional wrestler, before his successful Hollywood movie career.
"I once had a life as a professional wrestler where I was throwing around 300 pound men for living," says Johnson. "But we’re gonna follow young Rock as a professional wrestler — not my days in the WWE — but more importantly, the days before the WWE and that success, where I was wrestling for a very small wrestling company down in Nashville, Tennessee. Wrestling in used car dealerships, and flea markets, and barns, and state fairs, all for a hefty $40 bucks per match. Those were good times, and good years, and they were important."0comments
Before running a reel of young Dwayne Johnson photos — ending with a future predicting a 2032 presidential run — Johnson says, "It’s an exciting show, I’m excited to bring it to you guys. We are gonna show the good, the bad, the ugly, but most importantly, we’re gonna show the always funny. It’s that old adage that all of us live by, which is: yesterday’s painful headlines are today’s fun punchlines."
NBC has not announced a date for Young Rock. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.