Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Young Rock Season 1, called "My Day with Andre."
Young Rock took viewers back to 1982 Hawaii for "My Day with André," and a story that started with Dewey's entertaining efforts to get somebody to take him to go see E.T. turned into a heartwarming and emotional episode that shone a spotlight on the late André the Giant and his relationship with the kid who would go on to become The Rock. Former pro football player and memorable Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actor Matt Willig is responsible for bringing the beloved André to life on TV, and he opened up about "My Day with Andre" and what he learned from Dwayne Johnson.
Matt Willig spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets about Young Rock recently, and he cited "My Day with Andre" as a standout when I asked how he approached playing the larger emotional beats of Young Rock on top of the comedy, saying:
"My Day with Andre" featured Matt Willig as André the Giant and Adrian Groulx as the 10-year-old version of Dwayne Johnson. What young Dewey initially thought would be a trip to see E.T. turned into feeding birds and swinging on swings with the Eighth Wonder Of The World, with Andre making the point that everybody has a story to tell, perspective is important, and shunning can happen when somebody doesn't fit the norm.
Matt Willig still got the funny one-liners, including comparing Rocky's look to Columbo, but Andre got to impart some life lessons on Dewey that clearly stuck as well. Standing at 6'8", Willig was able to relate to the emotional storyline between Andre and Dewey, and the ending with André and Dewey going to see E.T. after all was a poignant capper to the episode. It was also funny, as everybody in the theater had to move when André moved to be able to see the screen. It was an example of Young Rock blending comedy with heart.
That blend undoubtedly works as well as it does partly due to Dwayne Johnson's real-life experiences with André the Giant as a kid. When I noted to Matt Willig that his performance as André in Young Rock sheds some light on the real man behind the Eighth Wonder Of The World as a wrestler and the iconic Fezzik from The Princess Bride, the actor shared:
Young Rock shedding light on deeper aspects of André the Giant's personality in "My Day with Andre" delivered heart as well as humor, and I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in seeing more episodes that feature Matt Willig as André and Adrian Groulz as Dewey interacting. Young Rock jumps around in the timeline of Dwayne Johnson's life (sometimes tweaking real-life stories for the sitcom), so it's hard to predict what's to come, but the new show didn't take long to become a hit on NBC, which is especially encouraging in light of the recent end of another comedy.
Check out NBC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET to see new episodes of Young Rock, featuring portrayals of wrestling legends like The Iron Sheik, The Junkyard Dog, and more as well as Matt Willig's André the Giant.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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