In the 1980s, Ralph Macchio starred in the first three Karate Kid films. He currently is on the acclaimed series Cobra Kai, reprising his role of Daniel LaRusso.
With Macchio’s strong ties to the franchise, some fans may be curious about why he was not in The Next Karate Kid. In the 1994 film, Pat Morita returned as Mr. Miyagi. The late actor starred alongside Hilary Swank, who portrayed Julie, the sensei’s new student.
Macchio Revealed Why He Was Not in ‘The Next Karate Kid’ in a 2018 Interview
Macchio spoke about the fourth installment of the film franchise in a 2018 interview with Uproxx. He noted that he had not been approached to be a part of the project. He went onto say that the original film’s director, John G. Avildsen, and writer Robert Mark Kamen, “weren’t involved” with The Next Karate Kid.
During the interview, the 59-year-old also revealed he was not particularly close to his former co-star Morita when the movie was in production.
“There was a section of time, for no specific reason, where Pat Morita and I were probably not [in] as much contact. It had nothing to do with anything … all I have for Pat Morita is the utmost love and respect. For our entire relationship, always, there was never a hiccup. But as years go by, not every year as much,” explained the actor.
He also disclosed that he did not have “a conversation with Pat about [the movie]” after it was released for “no apparent reason.”
Macchio then asserted that he did not refuse the role. He told the publication:
It wasn’t like they came to me and [I] said, ‘Oh no, I’ll never do another one of these.’ None of that happened. I think it was probably a decision by the studio and producer at that point, ‘Hey, let’s take this in this direction, let’s find another way to go.’
He also noted he has occasionally “run into Hilary Swank,” and they have shared “an internal smile about” starring in the martial arts films.
Macchio Also Shared His Opinion on ‘The Karate Kid’ Remake
In the interview with Uproxx, he also spoke about the 2010 reboot of The Karate Kid. Unlike The Next Karate Kid, he did admit that he had no interest in “be[ing] involved in that in any way.”
“I understood that Hollywood is show business and not show-art and there was another angle that they came up with, and it only enhanced the legacy of the original, but I always kept arms-length. I heard nothing that sounded fresh and original,” explained the actor.
Macchio recently shared similar sentiments about the remake while speaking to The Guardian. He repeated that while he felt the 2010 film “enhanced the legacy of the original,” he did have an issue with its title. He noted that calling the movie The Karate Kid was inaccurate as Jackie Chan’s character Mr. Han taught Dre (Jaden Smith) kung fu.
“Also, there’s no such thing as karate in China, so it should have been called The Kung Fu Kid,” remarked the actor.
To see more of Macchio, be sure to watch Cobra Kai, available on Netflix.