Louisville-native deaf actor stars on NBC’s ‘Young Rock’
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of the guest stars in the latest “Young Rock” episode that aired Tuesday night on WAVE is a Louisville actor.
Kurt Roberson was born deaf. He said he never thought he would have the chance to appear on a primetime television show.
Roberson has been pursuing acting for several years.
“Throughout my career, I have been rejected a lot of times,” Roberson said.
This time, his agent, the owner of Heyman Talent, knew it was different.
“There was an attachment of the image of the real Kenny Walker, the actor they were trying to find a look alike,” agent Chad Michael said. “I thought Kurt was perfect.”
Walker, who played football with the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is deaf. So is Roberson.
After three video auditions, Roberson learned he got the part.
“Words weren’t even coming out,” Roberson said. “I was teary eyed. Calling my mom. Trying to find words to text. Talking to my wife. My wife was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
Last October, he flew to Australia to film the episode. The first two weeks he had to quarantine in a hotel.
“It was beautiful,” Roberson said. “Nice 15th floor. Great view of Australia. Great food.”
When he started filming, he had his own trailer and was working alongside other actors he recognized.
“I was trying to play it cool,” Roberson said with a laugh. “Be a professional. Not be starstruck.”
Kurt gained about 20 pounds to look more like the football player from the 90s. He said he still can’t believe it.
“Mind-blowing,” Roberson said. “I never, ever, ever thought in my life I would come across working in same production as the Rock, Dwayne Johnson. He’s one of my idols growing up with.”
Kurt said when he saw the show, he got emotional.
“I was just holding back tears... holding back tears I got this far,” Roberson said. “My goal is to get into acting. Become an advocate for other deaf people, community, and of course love to meet the Rock.”
Unfortunately, the Rock wasn’t in town when Roberson was filming.
Roberson didn’t have a big watch party. Instead, he cuddled on the couch with his wife and 9-month-old twin boys. And he said he would likely be shedding a few tears.
“Young Rock” airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on WAVE and NBC. To catch up on the latest episodes, visit NBC.com.
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