Dwayne Johnson opens up about exploring the ‘complicated’ relationship with his father

Fans of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will now get an ‘origin story,’ so to speak, to his meteoric rise in the new NBC series Young Rock, with the actor opening up about his ‘complicated’ relationship with his father, wrestling legend Rocky Johnson.

The elder Johnson passed away suddenly last year at age 75, with his famous son now opening up to People about his father.

The action superstar revealed that, while the show is largely a lighthearted take on his formative years, they weren’t the easiest to explore for the 48-year-old actor.

Origin story: Fans of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson will now get an 'origin story,' so to speak, to his meteoric rise in the new NBC series Young Rock, with the actor opening up about his 'complicated' relationship with his father, wrestling legend Rocky Johnson

Origin story: Fans of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson will now get an 'origin story,' so to speak, to his meteoric rise in the new NBC series Young Rock, with the actor opening up about his 'complicated' relationship with his father, wrestling legend Rocky Johnson

Origin story: Fans of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will now get an ‘origin story,’ so to speak, to his meteoric rise in the new NBC series Young Rock, with the actor opening up about his ‘complicated’ relationship with his father, wrestling legend Rocky Johnson

‘I thought, well, let’s not take the easy route,’ Johnson said during NBC’s TCA winter tour panel, along with Young Rock creator Nahnatchka Khan and writer Jeff Chiang.

‘But it was incredibly complicated and it was incredibly 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,’ he said of his father.

Those complications were born from his father’s unconventional upbringing, with Rocky’s father kicking him out of the house at 13.

Complications: Those complications were born from his father's unconventional upbringing, with Rocky's father kicking him out of the house at 13

Complications: Those complications were born from his father's unconventional upbringing, with Rocky's father kicking him out of the house at 13

Complications: Those complications were born from his father’s unconventional upbringing, with Rocky’s father kicking him out of the house at 13

‘My dad was kicked out of his house at 13 and he was homeless, so that then shaped the man who then raised me,’ Johnson said.

His father made history as a professional wrestler, becoming, along with Tony Atlas, the first Black champions in WWE history when they won the tag team titles in 1983, when Dwayne was just 11. 

‘And in that complication came an extraordinary life that was full of travel. I lived in 13 different states by the time I was 13 years old, also lived in New Zealand,’ Johnson added.

History: His father made history as a professional wrestler, becoming, along with Tony Atlas, the first Black champions in WWE history when they won the tag team titles in 1983, when Dwayne was just 11

History: His father made history as a professional wrestler, becoming, along with Tony Atlas, the first Black champions in WWE history when they won the tag team titles in 1983, when Dwayne was just 11

History: His father made history as a professional wrestler, becoming, along with Tony Atlas, the first Black champions in WWE history when they won the tag team titles in 1983, when Dwayne was just 11

The show Young Rock depicts Johnson at ages 10  (Adrian Groulx), 15 (Bradley Constant) and 18 (Uli Latukefu), with Joseph Lee Anderson playing Rocky Johnson.

‘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. 

Johnson added that his father would have ‘loved this’ because it will be the first TV series to showcase what life was like for pro wrestlers in the 1970s and 1980s.

R.I.P.: '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

R.I.P.: '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

R.I.P.: ‘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

‘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. There’s a lot of positive stuff that we could take out of this,’ Johnson added.

Additionally, Entertainment Weekly has revealed new casting for the series, along with some surprising new plot details. 

While the series will showcase Young Rock’s childhood, with Johnson narrating, Johnson will also play himself as he prepares to run for President of the United States in the year 2032.

Details: Additionally, Entertainment Weekly has revealed new casting for the series, along with some surprising new plot details

Details: Additionally, Entertainment Weekly has revealed new casting for the series, along with some surprising new plot details

Details: Additionally, Entertainment Weekly has revealed new casting for the series, along with some surprising new plot details

Rosario Dawson has come aboard to play General Monica Jackson, described as, ‘a resilient leader, confident and steadfast in her decisions,’ who is said to be, ‘a very integral key’ to Johnson’s Presidential bid.

Randall Park, who starred in Young Rock creator Nahnatchka Khan’s series Fresh Off the Boat, will play himself… though in the series he has pivoted from a career as an actor to a journalist who has been given all-access coverage to Johnson’s campaign.

Young Rock premieres on NBC February 16. 

New show: Young Rock premieres on NBC February 16

New show: Young Rock premieres on NBC February 16

New show: Young Rock premieres on NBC February 16

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