Creator of the Goldbergs Discusses Casting Hulk Hogan, Bill Goldberg, more

Nov 6, 2019 - by James Walsh

Adam F. Goldberg, the creator of the hit ABC Family series The Goldbergs, was recently interviewed by WWE to talk about his upcoming wrestling themed episode, “WrestleMania,” which sees the Goldberg family meet the legendary Hulk Hogan during the height of Hulkamania. Goldberg discusses how he ended up casting the Hall of Famer in the show as himself, recalls stories of going to WrestleMania IV and meeting the Ultimate Warrior’s family, and his general love for all things pro-wrestling. Highlights are below.

Going to WrestleMania as a kid, and getting inspired to write the “WrestleMania” episode for his show:

I’m from Philly, and for my birthday — my birthday is April 2, so it’s over spring break — we went to Atlantic City and saw WrestleMania IV. It was probably one of the best days of my life. I went with my dad and my brother, and, of course, in the episode we meet Hulk Hogan. That never happened, that was more wish fulfillment. But if you’re doing a WrestleMania episode, you have to meet somebody awesome. But it really is a true story. I had two older brothers growing up, so if you grow up with older brothers, all you do is fight and wrestle. In my house, wrestling was such a big deal. We convinced my dad to go to Atlantic City and see WrestleMania, and he bought the worst seats in the house. So that’s where the starting point of the story was, and then of course it evolves and becomes something new. But it’s really a story of how my dad did not understand wrestling and did not get it at all and how we forced him to take us to WrestleMania back in the ’80s.

Getting Hogan to be on the show:

For me, it would have been Ultimate Warrior because he was my favorite growing up. I was Ultimate Warrior; Barry was Hulk. We each had our character. But obviously Ultimate Warrior passed away, so it was just kind of a no-brainer. If you want an ’80s wrestling superstar, you go to Hulk. The real issue was money, flying him out, putting him up. I essentially just moved heaven and earth to just pay him to come out. Luckily, he knew about the show and was really excited to recreate ’80s, old-school wrestling. He was receptive, but as always when you’re in a production, when you’re already creating WrestleMania, it’s so expensive. It was just a matter of convincing Sony to get him out here. They were really good partners on that episode.

Working with Bill Goldberg on the show:

Oh my God, that’s a great question. Well let me just talk about Goldberg for a second before I answer that. He is a regular, recurring [character] on the show. What I realized in casting him is that these guys are really good actors. Goldberg goes 100 percent in every scene. It’s really impressive. The thing about comedy is you really have to put your ego aside and try and look silly. That’s when it works. That’s always the fear: “Oh, we’re gonna get this guy here, and he doesn’t get the joke.” Or, “He doesn’t want to go all out.” From moment one, his comic instincts are so great. You look at these guys like Dave Bautista; they’re willing to just go for the joke and look ridiculous. So really, when we cast him it was just as a one shot, like, he’s gonna be the new gym teacher. And he was so funny that we were like, ‘Oh. He’s a legitimate comedic actor.’ Working with him has been so cool.

Potentially casting the Miz in one of his future shows:

Here’s one that would be really fun: Right now, I’m working on “Schooled,” which is the spinoff show. And we’re talking about, growing up, our wrestling coach was really young, probably in his late 20s, super handsome and he was like the cool teacher that everyone went to. We were talking about, “What if there’s a cool new wrestling coach?” And I was like, “Oh, The Miz would be great for that.” You could picture him being the cool teacher who you want to impress, which I think is a really interesting dynamic. Because teachers, you usually roll your eyes at, but there’s always that one teacher that you’re like, “That guy’s awesome! I want to party with that guy.” So, I think that would be really fun casting.

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