Young Rock's Joseph Lee Anderson Discusses The 'Very Complex Relationship' Between Rocky And Dwayne In Season 2

Young Rock Season 2 has debuted on NBC and, as a result, fans are now getting even more stories about Dwayne Johnson’s formative years, which occurred long before he became one of the biggest names in Hollywood. As the first season showed, The Rock had a unique upbringing -- unless your childhoods were also impacted by the presence of different notable WWE superstars like Andre The Giant. Johnson first experienced the world of professional wrestling at a very young age, thanks to his parents, particularly his father, Rocky Johnson. This new season seeks to further explore Rock’s relationship with his father, which was very "complex" at times, as noted by series star Joseph Lee Anderson.

Dwayne Johnson recently spoke about the complicated relationship he shared with his dad and how he didn’t realize the importance and impact of the elder Johnson's legacy until after the revered wrestler passed in 2020. I spoke to Joseph Lee Anderson, who plays Rocky Johnson on Young Rock, about Dwayne’s relationship with his father and the nuance required to play that dynamic on screen. Anderson agreed that the relationship was intricate and explained how he tries to convey that while keeping with the tone of the show:

Yeah, it was definitely a very complex relationship. I always have to remember that it is a comedy, and I didn’t want to take it too deep. But, at the end of the day, Rocky loved his son, and that’s kind of where I kept it at.

The show definitely doesn’t try to hide any of Rocky Johnson's flaws but, as his portrayer mentioned, the series is meant to be a comedy above all (as evidenced by moments like Andre the Giant's reaction to Dwayne calling wrestling fake). The show never wants to go too deep into the drama, even if it teases at deeper issues in The Rock’s life during his upbringing. Typically, the point of highlighting the flaw is to set up a comedic moment, and perhaps find a lighthearted way of addressing a potentially upsetting situation. 

I asked Joseph Lee Anderson if there was anything he might share from conversations he had with Dwayne Johnson in regard to playing his dad and got an answer that feels obvious in hindsight. Anderson shared one of the key traits of the real-life wrestler that he’s kept with him throughout filming. 

Dwayne also told me that Rocky was a guy that could make anyone feel like a million bucks. He could make anyone feel like they could do anything. Those are the kind of things I would hold onto throughout filming.

Young Rock Season 2 will finally show Dwayne Johnson’s start in the WWE (which actor Uli Latukefu is excited for audiences to see) and feature scenes in which Rocky trains Dwayne to become a pro wrestler. Obviously, we know how the story goes, but it’ll be interesting to see what more is revealed about the father-and-son relationship through the training sequences.

Young Rock airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Those who miss the episode can catch it on streaming with a Peacock premium subscription and get in on all the pro-wrestling sitcom fun.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.