Dwayne Johnson Talks ‘Complicated Relationship’ With His Late Dad

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson had to look back at some tough memories about his late dad, Rocky Johnson. He had to do that in order for his upcoming comedy Young Rock.

The show is based on the actor’s life on NBC and his life is lighthearted. However, initially the actor had a tough time through the years of his upbringing. He said at NBC’s TCA press tour that he thought to not take the easy route.

The actor was with executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and writer Jeff Chiang. He admitted that it was “incredibly” complicated and tough. “Growing up, and you know we specifically went with these timelines in my life that were very defining times at 10 years old, 15 and 18 … there’s a lot of things in between those years that took place … but it was complicated and the relationship that I had with my dad was incredibly complicated — that was fueled by tough love,” Johnson recalled of his late father who died on January 15, 2020, at age 75.

He further shared that his dad was kicked out of his house at 13 and he was homeless. The actor added that it was that step that shaped the man who raised him. He shared in that complication, there came an extraordinary life that was full of travel.

Dwayne revealed that he lived in 13 different states by the time he was 13 years old and also lived in New Zealand. His father was a famed WWE Wrestler and much of his family had American Samoan wrestlers. The actor had also discussed the portrayal of his father in Young Rock by actor Joseph Lee Anderson.

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“He would have loved this”

“My dad died one year ago this month last year, he died suddenly, and he’s obviously featured throughout the show and Joseph, he did a tremendous job playing my dad,” the actor said.

Dwayne further shared that he would have loved this and would have been proud for the first time. He further said that they are showcasing this world that he and all of his brothers of the rings gave their life to.

The actor said, “He would have loved this, he would have loved this and he would have been so proud because for the first time, certainly in prime time, we are showcasing this world, that he and all of his brothers of the rings, so to speak, of those men in the ’70s and the ’80s that they gave their life to.”

The Baywatch alum shared that they are showcasing it through the lens of something that’s positive. He said he knows what it meant to his dad because a lot of times the world of pro wrestling wasn’t always looked at through positive insight.

The actor added, “And, you know, to showcase it like this; and to showcase it through the lens of something that’s positive; and know what it meant; a lot to my dad because a lot of times the world of pro wrestling isn’t always looked at through that lens in a positive way.”

Dwayne shared that there is a lot of positive stuff that people can take out of this. “I can reflect that the series really allowed, in a way, me to appreciate those hard times that much more because through the brilliance of the Nahnatchka and Jeff,” Johnson said.

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The actor also added his hopes to offer a different perspective to viewers; who may also be going through or have been through difficult times. He shared that they did not want to take the traditional route; or the typical route of what you might think this could be. “But still, let’s talk about the complications,” he said.

Young Rockpremieres on NBC on February 16, 2021.


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