Brett Azar is honored to be portraying The Iron Sheik.
Speaking with SK Wrestling, the Young Rock actor was asked how he landed the role of the iconic wrestler, sharing that he didn't expect any acting jobs to become available during the pandemic. One day on a whim he got his girlfriend to shave his head - which she wound up hating - and then serendipitously three days later he received a call to audition for the part. After only one month, he had to break the good/bad news that he got the gig but that the bald head was here to stay.
Azar says he studied Shiek's accent extensively. Although, when he unveiled it to the casting directors they asked for something a bit more family-friendly.
"I did the audition. They loved my look. I had somewhat of a mustache. They're like, 'can you grow a mustache?' I was like, 'yeah, give me like a month, no problem.' They're like, 'only a month?' I was like, 'you'll see [chuckles].' Then they were like, 'can you talk like him?' So I did nothing but listen to the YouTube videos and his promos. So I was like, 'I break your back, I'll make you humble.' They were like, 'can you do it like NBC?' I was like, [in a lighter, more jovial register] 'yes, Bubba. No problem. Sheik only family man.' Then it all worked."
Before getting to work, however, Azar got in touch with The Iron Sheik, getting approval and advice on how to play the part just right. He said the following:
"I called the Sheik. I got his approval. He loved the ideas, he loved everything that I was bringing to it. He helped me with how to speak and how to act, and he wanted to mentor the wrestling aspect of it. But he's not in Australia, that's where we filmed. It's just the best role I've ever been a part of. Best cast. The best project. To be the Sheik is a true honor. He's a legend."
He concluded by sharing a funny story of The Iron Sheik's reaction to curse words being bleeped out of the show. Here is what happened:
"Episode three was a big one for the Sheik. I had a couple cool moments in my little talk with Mamma Lia being not allowed to say certain words... So it was, they blurred it out, but it was, I got the list of words. [In accent] 'I can't say no sh*t, no f**k, no Jew. Ugh, okay boss.' The Sheik called and he's like, 'why'd they edit it? I was like, 'Sheik, it's NBC.'"
'Young Rock' charts Johnson’s childhood from growing up in a strong and resilient family, to being surrounded by the wild characters of his professional wrestling family, to playing football at the University of Miami. It will explore the rollercoaster that has shaped Johnson into the man he is today and the larger-than-life characters he’s met along the way.
Episode 4 of 'Young Rock' premieres on Tuesday, March 16 on NBC.
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