In the 1984 martial arts film The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio portrayed Daniel LaRusso, a New Jersey native who moves to Reseda, California. The teenager takes an immediate liking to Ali Mills, played by Elisabeth Shue, which upsets her ex-boyfriend, Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka). Unfortunately for Daniel, his bully is a student at the Cobra Kai dojo and uses his martial arts skills against him. After Johnny brutally beats him up during the night of the Halloween dance, Daniel begins to train with his sensei Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Toward the end of the film, the West Valley High School students face off at the 1984 All Valley Championship. During the final round, Daniel uses the Crane Kick technique and wins the tournament.
Elisabeth Shue Revealed She Was Envious Of Macchio During the Filming Of ‘The Karate Kid’
In a 2018 Sports Illustrated interview with the cast and crew of the Karate Kid, the film’s screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen revealed that Ralph Macchio was cast as Daniel because of his slight stature and limited experience with the martial arts.
“I wanted a wimp. And Ralph is the paradigmatic wimp,” said the writer.
During the interview, the cast discussed being trained by the professional martial artist, Pat Johnson. William Matthew, who was the movie’s set designer, disclosed that everyone involved with the project “all wondered if Ralph could do it because he looked so frail.”
“Good thing the other person I trained with was Pat Morita, so I always looked good,” quipped Macchio.
Elisabeth Shue, whose character Ali is not a martial artist, revealed she was envious of Macchio because he had the opportunity to practice karate.
“I remember being incredibly jealous that Ralph got to learn karate and I didn’t. I made fun of him a little bit, like: I could kick your a**,” said the actress.
The Actress Shared Similar Information During a Recent Interview
Shue made similar remarks during a January interview with Entertainment Weekly. She disclosed that she used to joke about different aspects of the Karate Kid film franchise during interviews. She told the publication:
Over the years, you know, you get asked about it so much, and as a way to talk about it on talk shows and things, I started to have this sort of story line about making fun of it just a bit. Because at the time, Karate Kid, it sounded like, what kind of movie is that?
She went on to say that she would also comment on the fact that Macchio did not have the physicality of a skilled martial artist.
“I would even make fun of Ralph, like, ‘He didn’t look like anyone who could win a karate tournament!’” said the actress.
While speaking to the publication, Shue also discussed playing Ali again during the third season of Cobra Kai. She noted that she enjoyed being able to explore her character’s relationship with her ex-boyfriends, particularly Johnny.
“One thing that was just so incredible was to realize that Billy and I, in the original Karate Kid, we never ever spoke to each other except to punch each other, to throw a radio into the sand. We never got to have a [normal] scene. So I loved getting a chance to do that. In [Cobra Kai], we talked and communicated and acted together, and I loved that. So that was really surprising and wonderful to almost start a new relationship really,” explained the 57-year-old.