‘Cobra Kai’ Cast Reveals if Martin Kove Is Intimidating in Real Life

Martin Kove

Getty Martin Kove strikes a pose at TCL Chinese Theatre.

In “Cobra Kai,” Martin Kove plays ruthless sensei John Kreese, who constantly causes major issues for Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka). The Vietnam veteran, who first appeared in the 1984 film “The Karate Kid,” teaches members of the Cobra Kai dojo to fight without honor. He is a manipulative figure and has little concern for others, as long as he comes out on top.


Some of Kove’s Castmates Commented on How He Behaves in Real Life

During a recent panel with Variety, the publication’s senior TV writer Joe Otterson, asked Kove’s co-stars Ralph Macchio, William “Billy” Zabka, Courtney Henggeler, and Vanessa Rubio “how intimidating is Marty Kove on set.” 

Henggeler, who plays Daniel’s wife Amanda, did not answer the question but revealed that Kove and his terrifying character do share a fondness for cigars. She stated she and Rubio once saw the 75-year-old smoking a cigar and “talking to somebody on the phone,” while wearing “the coolest sunglasses.” The actress explained that she “feel[s] like we’re making one show and Marty’s in a completely different series.”

“I want to be on Marty’s series because he’s just cooler than anybody that we got going on. He’s just his own vibe,” said the 42-year-old.

William “Billy” Zabka also asserted that Kove is “very sweet” and “in many ways a big brother” to him. He then stated that the “Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood” star has been “enjoying getting to dive into some of the more vulnerable areas of John Kreese and not making him just the two dimensional villain.”

The “Karate Kid” himself, Ralph Macchio, also shared kind words about Kove and insisted that he is “a teddy bear.” The 59-year-old went on to say that his co-star believes his character is “misunderstood.” Macchio also referenced that Kreese is presented in a more empathetic light during the third season. As fans are aware, “Cobra Kai” season 3 featured quite a few flashbacks that focused on Kreese’s life during his young adulthood.


Kove Spoke About His Character in a January 2021 Interview

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly in January 2021, Kove explained that he was only interested in continuing Kreese’s storyline if he was multifaceted in “Cobra Kai.” He stated that fortunately, the show’s “creators [Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg] were very perceptive” and gave Kreese more depth than what he had in the original “Karate Kid” films. 

“This is what persuaded me to sign-on because I didn’t want to play another bad guy. Their plan to take him up and down emotionally really interested me, like that scene where Billy [Zabka] and I are in the men’s shelter. I like going into the depths of humanity and playing out those emotional moments,” said the actor.

During the interview, Kove admitted that he is somewhat similar to Kreese. He told the publication: 

I try to keep [Kreese] low-key but there are times he comes out. It’s a theatrical mystery. If you do a role long enough… I know Heath Ledger and Daniel Day-Lewis have experienced this where you maintain the psychology of certain characters, they stay with you to a degree. I’m not saying we go rob liquor stores or beat up people in alleys, but more like the integrity that Kreese has about how he lives and how there’s no room for anyone else’s opinion.

READ NEXT: Chad McQueen’s Daughter Reveals if He Will Be in ‘Cobra Kai’


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