NBC Announces ‘Young Rock’ TV Series Based on Dwayne Johnson’s Childhood [TCA 2020]

During NBC’s Television Critics Association presentation, the network announced Dwayne Johnson will executive produce and star in Young Rock. Executive produced by Nanatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang, the project has been given a straight-to-series order and will follow the school years of Dwayne Johnson and even his early wrestling career. Find out more about the Young Rock TV series below.

Khan and Chiang created Fresh Off the Boat on ABC, a series that was also based on the true story of Eddie Huang. Fresh Off the Boat took a bit of dramatic license, enough that the real Huang departed the show, but it shows Khan and Chiang’s ability to make compelling television out of celebrities’ childhoods. Johnson recalled:

“When myself and Nanatchka and our Seven Bucks team pitched our friends at NBC, all jaws were dropped. All hands were raised. They said, ‘We are in 100%. You’re not allowed to take pitches anywhere else. Take this off the table.’”

By way of video from Atlanta, Georgia, Johnson went into detail about the years Young Rock will cover, famous real life personalities who could be represented on the show and how much present day Johnson will appear on the show. The series will span grade school to post-grad life, suggesting they will need more than one actor to play Johnson at different ages. But NBC did not announce any casting besides Johnson himself. And he’s got plenty of stories to tell:

“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.”

How About The Rock’s Wrestling Career?

Wrestling was Dwayne Johnson’s launching pad to become a mogul. He parlayed his wrestling persona The Rock into an international blockbuster movie career, and now produces movies and TV shows of his own including HBO’s Ballers and NBC’s competition The Titan Games. Young Rock will portray the early days of Johnson’s wrestling career.

John confirmed that we’d see “Young Rock as a professional wrestler, and not in the bright lights and big success in the WWE but more importantly the critical times before I got to WWE.” He added, “I was wrestling for 40 bucks a match in a very small wrestling company out of, again, Nashville,  Tennessee.”

More Older Rock Than You’d Expect

As for Dwayne Johnson’s involvement in front of the camera, it sounds like it will be more than you might expect. Young Rock won’t be a situation where Dwayne Johnson introduces the premiere to get you to watch some other actor play him. Johnson promises to be in every episode.

“We have found a really fun just creative way to weave me into the show into every episode in a pretty cool way,” Johnson said.

Dwayne Johnson is nearly 50, but he could still pass for the later end of Young Rock. He would have to costar with his younger self, whoever they cast. The obvious hook would be to have Johnson himself introduce each episode in wraparound segments. Hopefully they have a more creative approach that includes Johnson interacting with the Young Rock.

Even though this is the story of young Dwayne Johnson, there will be some other famous people who might pop up. During his life, he crossed paths with some other celebrities, and we might see them pop up on the show. Johnson explained:

“What’s crazy about this whole thing [was] the confluence of wild personalities that came in and out of my life during these times all these years. From my heroes Andre the Giant to Muhammad Ali to Ronald Reagan.”

Since all of those people have since passed, we’d need an actor to play them, but it could be fun to find guest stars to bring them to life. Maybe we’ll even see Vince McMahon make an appearance, eh?

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