Ralph Macchio Reveals Reason He Has Chemistry With William Zabka

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio Comic-Con

Getty William Zabka and Ralph Macchio speak at the 2019 Comic-Con in San Diego.

Since its premiere in 2018, Cobra Kai has amassed a massive fanbase. While the show is known for its impressive fight sequences, there is also entertainment value in the character’s relationships. In particular, the rapport between rivals Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) is an amusing aspect of the acclaimed series. This can be attributed, in part, to Macchio and Zabka’s real-life chemistry. 


Macchio Talked About His Chemistry With Zabka in a Recent Interview

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio

Getty“Cobra Kai” stars William Zabka and Ralph Macchio strike a pose together during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

While speaking to journalist Kara Swisher on the Sway podcast, Macchio recently revealed why he shares a close bond with his co-star. He shared a story detailing “when William Zabka for the first time and [he] stepped onto the stage together ”during the production of Cobra Kai Season 1.

“We hadn’t been on camera together since, you know, 1980 whatever,” said the actor.

He went on to say that majority of his scenes with Zabka on the show have been physical.

“For the most part, anytime we’re on screen together he was kicking my a** and I’m taking a beating. There wasn’t a lot of sitting down in a coffee shop and having a conversation,” explained the 55-year-old.

He noted that he and his co-star “instantly had this chemistry” while shooting the show, even though their characters had not interacted in over three decades.

“Life [had] gone by. [There was] a little more wrinkles, a little less hair, but there was this sort of magic between us that I don’t think we even had back in the day,” said Macchio. 

He then stated that he believed a contributing factor for him having strong chemistry with Zabka is that they both have been associated with the Karate Kid franchise since the release of the first film in 1984.

“I think something that had to do with sharing a unique connection of being connected to this entity that we all share from a different perspective that is something that doesn’t happen very often,” said the actor. 


Zabka Has Also Spoken About Filming His ‘First Scene’ With Macchio for ‘Cobra Kai’

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka Posing

GettyRalph Macchio and William Zabka pose together at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con.

In January 2021, both actors were interview on The View. During the interview, Zabka recounted his emotional response to filming his “first scene” with Macchio for Cobra Kai. He explained that while the co-stars “have been friends for many years,” they had not previously reprised their iconic characters on screen. 

He noted that “scene in Season 1 where [Daniel] walks into [Johnny’s] dojo… it was the first time that [the characters] were looking through each other’s eyes.”

“It was very palatable and we knew as soon as we finished that scene… these guys were back with their baggage, and it felt alive. And we felt when we walked off the set, and we completed that scene. We felt like this is going to work. There’s something really special happening here it was a great, great emotion,” explained the actor. “I mean 35 years ago was the crane kick that I took to the head. It was nice, you know, but here he is again. I mean [Daniel is] walking into Johnny’s dojo.. and it set a great spark for the rest of where we’re going with it. It was awesome.” 

To see more of Macchio and Zabka, be sure to watch Cobra Kai Season 3, available on Netflix.

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