Since 2018, Ralph Macchio has reprised the role of Daniel LaRusso in the acclaimed series “Cobra Kai.” The character was introduced in the 1984 film “The Karate Kid,” which was directed by John Avildsen. For almost 40 years, the martial arts enthusiast has been a beloved character and a pop culture icon.
Ralph Macchio Revealed That He Had Some “Uneasiness” About Playing Daniel on “Cobra Kai”
Despite the character’s popularity, Macchio revealed that for many years he was reluctant to revisit the role in a 2018 interview with Uproxx. He stated that he had been pitched numerous reboot ideas but was not interested in returning to the “Karate Kid” franchise.
“[I]t was something I was very protective of. The character first and foremost, and then the franchise — certainly the original film, which has become such a special part of pop culture, and a slice of all our childhoods, and a piece of Americana, in a way. I said no a lot of times,” explained the actor.
He also disclosed that he did not want to be “involved” with the 2010 “Karate Kid” reboot, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Macchio acknowledged that the remake “enhanced the legacy of the original,” but asserted it lacked originality.
He then explained why he decided to join the “Cobra Kai” cast. The actor stated that the show’s creators and executive producers Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald are passionate about the “Karate Kid” franchise. He also noted they agreed to honor certain aspects of the original film, specifically the character Mr. Miyagi, played by the late actor Pat Morita.
That being said, Macchio admitted that he had some “uneasiness” about playing Daniel again. He explained that he views “Cobra Kai” as “fan fiction” that has allowed the show’s creators to write “their version of where LaRusso picks up.” He also revealed he had questioned the character’s overarching storyline. He told the publication:
[B]ased on my notes and interactions and how [the show’s creators] responded with adjustments, I believe that I have to go outside my comfort zone sometimes. Because I’m a little too protective and Daniel LaRusso maybe a little too precious to me. Also, it’s nice to place these characters as both protagonists and antagonists in the series.
Ralph Macchio Revealed He Disagreed With an Aspect of Daniel’s Life on “Cobra Kai”
In a May 2018 interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Macchio revealed that he had an issue with one aspect of his character. In “Cobra Kai,” Daniel is a businessman who owns numerous car dealerships. The father-of-two advertises for the LaRusso Auto Group by filming karate-themed commercials, as he is still recognized for winning the 1984 and 1985 All Valley Tournaments. Macchio, however, initially believed that Daniel’s career choice was out of character for him.
“As far as being the auto king of the San Fernando Valley and doing these car commercials, I probably wouldn’t have gone in that direction. I said, ‘I see it’s funny, we just need to make it real.’ And we found that balance together,” said the actor.
To see more of Macchio, check out “Cobra Kai,” available to stream on Netflix.