In the Karate Kid film franchise and Cobra Kai, Martin Kove plays the ruthless sensei John Kreese. The Vietnam veteran is known for his tough demeanor and merciless attitude.
It appears that Kove may share his character’s tendency to be intimidating.
Martin Kove Talked About Verbally Berating the Director of ‘The Karate Kid’
In a 2019 interview, which was uploaded on the BUILD Series YouTube channel, the actor revealed that he verbally berated John Avildsen, who directed The Karate Kid, during his audition process.
He explained he received the film’s script and was told by casting director Caro Jones that he had “all week” to prepare for his audition. However, Kove was contacted the following day and was informed that the film’s director, “John Avildsen want[ed] to see [him] on the set at noon.” The actor noted that he had not even” looked at” the scene he was supposed to audition with, which occurred in the Cobra Kai dojo.
“So I’m just so angry and my wife [Vivienne Kove] at the time says use the venom you feel and do those lines ‘Mercy is for the weak here on the streets,” explained the actor.
He went on to say that he liked his wife’s idea.
“I went there, and I had to get pumped up. In order to get pumped up to that energy level I berated — I said ‘you’re a real a****** John Avildsen, and you’re a real a****** too Caro Jones, we wait as actors, we fire our managers, fire our agents to meet directors of your caliber and you don’t even give us time to prepare the work. Mercy is for the weak.’ I went right into it. While I’m screaming at this guy, I went right into that,” recalled the actor.
Kove revealed that Avildsen “loved it” and he met with The Karate Kid’s producer Jerry Weintraub, who told him that he was “perfect” for the role.
During the interview, the 74-year-old shared what he learned as an actor from the experience.
“Anyway the moral of the story is… if they don’t hire you you have to remember it’s their mistake because your dream will come true in due time. Things will materialize as long as you keep your dreams right up there. Don’t ever let the dreams go,” said Kove.
Kove Has Spoken About How He Felt Playing Kreese Again
As fans of Cobra Kai are aware, Kreese makes his way back into his former student Johnny Lawrence’s (William “Billy” Zabka) life nearly 30 years after the sensei was seen in the 1989 film The Karate Kid Part III.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in August 2020, the actor talked about portraying Kreese in the acclaimed series. He told the publication:
I wanted to come back to the role. I was quite leery to do it as written for the movies, but my basic insistence to the [Cobra Kai] writers was, “Are you going to write this character vulnerably? Are you going to give him some versatile situations?” And they did, they had him coming off episode-one, season-two as if he was a big shot. He portrayed that everything’s cool, and he’s coming back, and he wants to be in Cobra Kai, because it’s now big news.
To see more of Kove, be sure to watch Cobra Kai, available on Netflix.