Kiwi actors are having a great time being part of the action and laughs filming the formative years of one of the world's biggest stars, 48-year-old Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
The NBC TV comedy series Young Rock has been filming in Brisbane over the past several months and has attracted some of NZ's brightest Pacifica stars.
The 11-episode series has been filmed in single-camera shots with different actors playing Johnson at varying ages. The series depicts the Young Rock's life from school and early college days, to his journey into life as a pro-wrestler in North America.
Tongan actor Uli Latukefu, who starred in Kiwi movie The Legend Of Baron To'a, is playing The Rock aged 18-20. He has described his role as one for the dreamers and he is very proud to be part of it. Spy understands his Baron To'a co-star, John Tui, has been cast in the show.
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Samoan actress Stacey Leilua is playing The Rock's mother, Ata.
"I am beyond honoured and proud to be playing the magnificent Ata Johnson, beautifully vibrant and strong Samoan woman and mother. Feeling so much love and support from everyone back home," Leilua told her Instagram followers before filming started.
Former Outrageous Fortune star Ana Tuisila is playing The Rock's grandma Lia Maivia. The role has been described by Johnson as a special one and highly entertaining.
"Playing my grandma, Lia Maivia will be the one-of-a-kind Ana Tuisila. She was pro wrestling's first women's promoter. She HAD TO BE tough as nails in a male-dominated, shark-infested world of wrestling. She set the bar for tough business practices and also set the bar for how loving a sweet grandma could be to her only grandson – me," Johnson told his social media followers.
Golden Boy star Fasitua Amosa has always thought Johnson's life story deserved to be told and always dreamt he would be part of the production. Amosa is playing one half of the legendary Wild Samoans wrestling tag team in the show.
Former Almighty Johnsons' star Emmett Skilton is starring in the production too. He has been filming in Brisbane since late last year and Spy hears he has had to bulk up his usually lanky frame, big time. Skilton's fiancee, Holley Shervey, joined him this week for his last weeks of shooting.
Talk about a fast turn-around shoot. American audiences will get their first taste of the series when it debuts in two weeks on NBC and we are told it is bound to show up on a streaming service or local network later this year.
This week, along with a trailer for the series, Johnson told his social media fans: "On February 16th, the little afro boy, who people always mistook for being a little afro girl, (true story) arrives in your living rooms on @NBC. What a wild journey it's been and an unpredictable road of life . . . as puberty was firmly kickin' lil' Dewey's ass," Johnson wrote.