Earlier this morning, NBC revealed it had handed a straight-to-series order to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Nahnatchka Khan for Young Rock, a single-camera comedy that tells the story of the wrestling star and actor’s colorful early years.
After a technological mishap at the Winter TCA press tour, Johnson recorded a video, in which he outlined some of the stories of his “wild” and “unpredictable” life that will feature in the series.
“We’re going to find young Rock wreaking havoc in the streets of Hawaii, when I was a teenager, getting arrested seemingly every single week, doing things I shouldn’t have been doing, but still a good kid. Then we got evicted off the island, and moved to, of all places Nashville, Tennessee, where I continued to get in trouble,” he said.
Johnson spent his high school years in Honolulu before moving to the country music capital, where he was arrested multiple times for fighting, theft and check fraud before the age of 17.
“Just imagine me at 15 in downtown Nashville, listening to honky tonk, buying my first car from a crackhead for $70 – I did talk him down so I was a pretty good negotiator. Then we go into high school years and then I became 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 went on to become one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time,” he added.
Johnson then became a professional wrestler. While many know him as the star of the WWE, he got his start in Nashville, wrestling for $40 a match in used car dealerships and state fairs. “It was almost as if I had the childhood of Forrest Gump,” he joked.
NBC bought the show in the room, according to Johnson. “When we pitched the show to our friends at NBC, at the end of the pitch, all jaws were dropped and all hands were raised and they said ‘we are in 100%, you’re not allowed to pitch this anywhere else’,” he said.
The Jumanji star will bookend each episode, which will have a fluid storytelling structure to cover numerous periods in his life as well as his key relationships with his family including his mother, father and grandmother. Deadline understands that the network is expecting a script in the next couple of weeks.
“We’re very excited about the show, we have found a really fun, creative way to weave me into the show, into every episode in a pretty cool way,” he added.
The pilot was co-written by Khan and Fresh Off the Boat co-executive producer Jeff Chiang. The series is produced by Universal Television, where Khan is in the first year of a four-year overall deal, Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions and Khan’s Fierce Baby Productions. Executive producers are Chiang, Fierce Baby’s Khan and Jennifer Carreras and Severn Bucks’ Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia and Brian Gewirtz.
Johnson couldn’t help but end his TCA message with a comical jab at his old pal and frequent co-star Kevin Hart. “I hope you enjoy the show and I’m going to go pick up Kevin Hart from his soccer practice,” he joked.