With the premiere of on NBC, a very different era of the professional wrestling industry is about to take center stage. Young Rock, as the title might hint, explores the life of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an adolescent, long before he became the world’s biggest movie star and WWE’s People’s Champion. It’s set at three different times in Johnson’s life–ages 10, 15, and 18–and shows the highs and lows of pro wrestling in the ’70s and ’80s.
And who better person to show that industry to Johnson than his own father, “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson. In the series, actor Joseph Lee Anderson portrays the elder Johnson in a role that called on him to not only embody Rocky’s personality but also his in-ring skills. It wasn’t each for Anderson, but something he ultimately embraced–especially where Johnson’s over-the-top charisma is concerned.
“In real life, I’m very like a shy, introverted, dude,” the actor explained. “[Rocky] is not that at all.” Instead, Rocky projected the aura that he was the biggest star in the room, regardless of that room’s size.