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How Accurate Is Young Rock To Dwayne Johnson's Real Life?

What do you when you've conquered professional wrestling, action cinema, and actor-comedian Kevin Hart? Well, if you're Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, you let the world know where you started from, as he does on NBC's new comedy, Young Rock.

The sitcom is based on Johnson's real life and brings us back to three different eras of his youth. Adrian Groulx plays the ten-year-old Johnson, Bradley Constant plays the future Black Adam at 15, and Uli Latukefu plays the Rock between the ages of 18 and 20. Ironically, all these stories based on Johnson's life are told from the perspective of the completely fictional (so far) Johnson of 2032. In that not-too-far-off epoch, The Rock is a presidential hopeful sitting down for a tell-all interview with actor-turned-journalist Randall Park.  

Even though the premise of Young Rock is quasi-autobiographical, it's reasonable to wonder just how true-to-form these stories are. Did he really steal sneakers when he was 15? Did he really get to hang out with wrestling legends like Andre the Giant and the Iron Sheik when he was only 10? And there's no way he actually bought a car and didn't notice there was a dude sleeping in the backseat until he was driving away with it, is there? After all, most shows and movies that are supposed to be based on real life always mess with things at least a little, right?

Well, according to The Rock himself and Young Rock co-showrunner Nahnatchka Khan, in some ways the sitcom is more accurate than you'd likely expect. The truth is always stranger than fiction.

According to Johnson, Young Rock is as accurate as it gets

According to what Johnson told The New York Times earlier this month, the events of Young Rock – excluding the scenes in the future, of course — are absolutely pulled from his real life. Johnson went on to say that when digging deep for anecdotes, he sought the help of a little liquid inspiration. "I poured myself a lot of tequilas," Johnson said. "I would leave [series creator Nahnatchka Khan] these voice notes, after my second or third drink, and say, listen, you're never going to believe this. But I'll tell it to you anyway. And then we would talk the next day."

He told the paper the concept of splitting up the story into three timelines came later, after he loaded up Khan with details: "It required a lot of hours of sitting down with [Khan], just talking and sharing stories and then walking away, going back home, writing things down, meeting back again, going over more stories." 

When Deadline spoke to Khan, she told them one of the details in the premiere episode that many assumed was the result of poetic license actually did happen. Asked about Johnson buying a car only to find a man sleeping in the backseat, Khan said, "That was the story [Dwayne Johnson] told us."

While the what and the who of Young Rock might be on target, sometimes the when isn't

You Rock can't be that accurate, can it? Real life doesn't fit into sitcoms — if it did, we wouldn't need sitcoms.

No, not everything in the show happened line for line. For example, while speaking to Deadline about the scene in episode 1, when the 15 year old Rock and his buddy find a man in the backseat of their car, Khan clarified that not every part of what happens with Waffle (Jeremy Waters) — the unexpected passenger — is true to life. Still, she said Johnson "absolutely bought a car from a crackhead" and that it did include a surprise passenger.

Likewise, Johnson told USA Today that while just about everything you see in Young Rock happened to him, here and there the writers have changed when it happened. "[E]verything that people see in this first episode and throughout the season, everything happened," Johnson said. "Now, what we do is, maybe it happened in a different year, maybe it happened in a different city."

So maybe Johnson bought the car with the bonus passenger, but just not when he was 15. Or maybe Andre the Giant (Matthew Willig) really lifted him off his feet to teach him to never call wrestling "fake" again, but not when Johnson was 10 — and let's be real, Andre probably could have done it at any age.

Catch new episodes Young Rock Tuesday nights on NBC.