Fanny packs and facial hair: The stars of 'Young Rock' talk what it takes to be the Rock

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·5 min read

It takes more than one actor to play Dwayne Johnson... it actually takes three. The hit NBC comedy series Young Rock features a trio of leading men as the pop culture icon better known as the Rock. Adrian Groulx plays Johnson at age 10; Bradley Constant takes over as a 15-year-old high-schooler; and Uli Latukefu navigates his college years from 18 to 20. Because of the shifting timelines, the three actors never got a chance to work together while shooting the show, so that made it all the more important that they spend time together off-camera. And they reunited again — virtually this time — for an interview with Yahoo Entertainment. "We hung out heaps," Latukefu says, adding that they spent a lot of their communal time eating dinners cooked by Groulx's mom and pies prepared by Constant himself. "Bradley makes good pie," Groulx raves. (Watch our video interview above.)

Adrian Groulx as young Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson as his father, Rocky Johnson, and Stacey Leilua as his mother Ata Johnson in 'Young rock' (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Adrian Groulx as young Dwayne Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson as Rocky Johnson and Stacey Leilua as Ata Johnson in Young Rock. (Photo: Mark Taylor/NBC)

The show's demanding production schedule — plus COVID-19 restrictions — also meant that the three actors haven't gotten the chance to meet the man they're playing in real life. But each of them did have Zoom calls with Johnson prior to production to talk about his eventful life, which provides the basis for many of the stories told on the show. For Groulx, the Rock's deep affection for his father, wrestler Rocky Johnson (played by Joseph Lee Anderson on the series), rang true. "I probably hang out with my dad more than any of my friends," the young actor says. "We're so close. Even when I went to Australia with my mom [to shoot the show], everyday I would call him because I missed him so much. When I saw that in the script, it was nice for me to see it because of the similarity I had with him."

Constant, meanwhile, says that he identified strongly with Johnson's awkward high school years. "He gets along a little better than I did," the actor jokes, adding that the adolescent mustache he sports on the series is his own facial hair. "On my last audition, I didn't have the 'stache yet, and they had to glue a fake one on for that. It started flapping off, so I knew that wouldn't work if I had to shoot with it. When I grow facial hair, it's not the way it should be: It's kind of all over the place and terrible. Once we started shooting, we trimmed it down to the smooth 15-year-old Dwayne look."

Bradley Constant grew his own 'stache to play 15-year-old Dwayne Johnson (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC)
Bradley Constant grew his own 'stache to play 15-year-old Dwayne Johnson. (Photo: Mark Taylor/NBC)

Latufeku also gets to rock some vintage Rock fashions: In the episode that's airing on March 16, he's seen sporting the infamous fanny pack look that Johnson himself mocked on Instagram. "It's probably one of the most iconic photos going around, so I was pretty nervous actually to make sure everything was on point," Latufeku says. "But I think the most fun thing about it is we get some context for the photo, which is going to be really enjoyable for audiences." The episode might also help the fanny pack complete the comeback journey that the actor has observed in his own life. "It's making a resurgence!" Latufeku insists. "I might actually buy one myself."

He can probably buy one for the entire cast and crew pretty soon. Since premiering in February, Young Rock has become a big success story for NBC, scoring the network's biggest audience for a comedy series since 2017. That makes the likelihood of a second season as certain as another Jumanji movie. Latufeku says that he's hoping to follow Johnson from college to his short stint in the Canadian Football League and his early days on the regional wrestling circuit. "He did a lot of the hard work on that circuit, so I wouldn't mind seeing some of that." Constant, on the other hand, is happy to stay in high school. "I'd love to get into some high school football scene, and maybe a little more girl drama. Those are always really fun scenes — just for acting reasons!"

YOUNG ROCK --  Season: 1 -- Pictured: Uli Latukefu as Dwayne 20yrs -- (Photo by: Mark Taylor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Uli Latukefu plays college-aged Dwayne Johnson in Young Rock. (Photo: Mark Taylor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

All three actors would also love to meet the Rock in real life before shooting begins on Season 2. "I want to have a waffle eating contest with this man," Constant says. "I've been having waffle Saturdays since I was in sixth grade. Now he's probably eaten waffles longer than me, but still, I am king of waffles and I want to challenge him to a waffle-off." Groulx, meanwhile, wants to get up close and personal. "I want to have a five-minute hug — trying not to crush every bone I have!" And Latufeku wants to make a full day of it: "A big hug, and then maybe train and then having waffles with Bradley," he says. "That would be awesome. Meeting him on Zoom was great, but meeting him in person is going to be incredible."

Young Rock airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Video produced by Jon San and edited by Jason Fitzpatrick

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