Deaf Actor and Kentucky Native Appears on NBC Sitcom ‘Young Rock’
Last night, the 1992 film Scent of a Woman appeared on a list on my Peacock app. The last 30 minutes of that movie are great; you can have the rest of it.
Al Pacino got knocked around a great deal for that movie, despite the fact that it won him his only Oscar to date--to be fair, he's been more deserving elsewhere--but his performance of a retired blind colonel who never completely accepted his disability really becomes a home run in that last half-hour.
If the character had been deaf, we would have been watching a deaf actor in the role. I've seldom seen a deaf character played by a hearing actor.
LOUISVILLE-BORN DEAF ACTOR ON NBC'S YOUNG ROCK
When the NBC sitcom Young Rock needed a deaf actor to play former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Kenny Walker, they were introduced to Louisville native Kurt Roberson, whose agent heard about the role and thought his client would be perfect, according to WAVE3-Louisville. Here's a sensational introduction to Roberson--a video in which he talks about listening even when you can't hear.
THE LOWDOWN ON YOUNG ROCK
Young Rock could be described as a semi-fictional autobiography of Duane Johnson, aka The Rock. The focal point of the series is Johnson's run for president in 2032--the fictional part, obviously--but it takes the viewer back in time through the actor's life as a football player and wrestler and then, of course, as one of Hollywood's most bankable stars. If you've never seen the series, here's the trailer for season one.
If you haven't begun season TWO yet--it has just begun within the last couple of weeks--check out THAT preview here:
KURT ROBERSON FEATURED IN THE EPISODE'S TRAILER
In the March 22nd episode, Roberson played Walker, the first-ever deaf player in the Canadian Football League, and one of only five deaf NFL players.
Young Rock's episodes are flashbacks to different key moments in Duane Johnson's life, and the casting is very impressive. The actors portraying younger versions of the actor all bear a striking resemblance. In certain films and other series, it's obvious that that sometimes does not matter.
In that video you saw if you clicked the above link, you'll note that Roberson hasn't actually met Duane Johnson; his scenes were in flashback. In fact, Johnson wasn't even in Australia where the scene was shot. (That's some budget for a network comedy.)
This isn't Roberson's first gig, in case you were wondering. It's not a long list of credits at this point--and you'd have to look quick FOR him since he plays roles like "mover," "deaf patron," "extra," and "guy". Yes, so far, it looks like walk-on roles.
So his excitement in getting a speaking role and a character that actually has a name is quite understandable.
DEAF ACTORS IN HOLLYWOOD
And a big boom for non-hearing actors could be developing. Troy Kotsur just won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his supporting performance in CODA, about a young woman--and the only hearing member of her family--who has to decide to continue pursuing a career in music or stay back and help out as her family deals with losing their fishing business. Kotsur is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar; with his SAG win, he's become a frontrunner for the golden statuette. CODA stands for "child of deaf adults."
With an agent who keeps his ear to the ground, it's entirely possible--if not likely--that we have not seen nor heard the last of Kurt Roberson.