How Ralph Macchio & William Zabka Feel About Their Younger Co-Stars

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka Posing

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

The acclaimed series “Cobra Kai” continues the storyline of Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who first appeared in the 1984 martial arts film “The Karate Kid.” On the show, the long-time rivals are fathers to teenage children and teach karate to high school students.


Macchio & Zabka Discussed Working With Their Younger Co-Stars

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio Comic-Con

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

During a recent joint interview with Deadline, Macchio and Zabka revealed how they felt working with the show’s younger cast members, like Mary Mouser, who plays Daniel’s daughter, Samantha, and Tanner Buchanan, who plays Johnny’s son, Robby Keene. Macchio disclosed that the experience has been “rewarding for [him].” He explained that he has enjoyed “shar[ing] a little bit of the wisdom … as an actor, a father, a husband, [and] as a man who’s not 20 anymore” with the younger generation. 

“[T]his great young cast that absorbs everything and gives back to me, that’s been really kind of wonderful going forward,” said the 59-year-old. 

Zabka also noted that the younger cast “were all novices” when they started filming the first season. He went on to say that over the course of four years, they have worked hard to become masters of their craft. 

“They didn’t know how to lift their leg at first, but these kids are turning into legitimate martial artists, let alone actors,” said the father-of-two. 

Zabka also revealed that he views himself as “more like the fun camp counsellor,” instead of a “mentor” to his less experienced co-stars. The actor explained that he refrains from “get[ting] too much in their business.” Instead, he has been attempting “to lead by example.” He told the publication:

[T]hey’re very capable actors. I’m always marveled at their talent and what they bring to the day. Ralph and I like to take a pause and let them do all the fighting.

Macchio then stated that the younger cast members “are spectacular” and “come to work every day with a great sense of pride.”


Zabka Shared Similar Information During a January Interview

William Zabka

GettyWilliam Zabka strikes a pose at the premiere of “Where Hope Grows” in 2015.

Zabka shared similar information about his younger castmates while speaking to Men’s Health in January. He explained that he does not believe his co-stars “look at [him and Macchio] as mentors.” Instead, they have a symbiotic relationship. 

“It’s a two-way street with these actors. They’re really talented actors, and we’re actors, and we’re given some great material, so as much as we feed and mentor them, their energy feeds these scenes and feeds us back,” explained Zabka. 

The show’s younger stars seems to have an equal amount of respect for the original members of “The Karate Kid” cast. During a behind-the-scenes interview with Entertainment Tonight, Xolo Maridueña, who plays Miguel Diaz, revealed that he felt privileged to be working alongside Zabka and Macchio. The 20-year-old explained that it was “super super surreal” to be on “Cobra Kai” because “The Karate Kid” impacted “a lot of people growing up.” 

“Getting to work with [Zabka and Macchio] and calling them our friends and you know, getting to have dinner with them is really weird in a sense. It’s awesome. It’s a blessing,” said Maridueña

 The upcoming fourth season of “Cobra Kai” will likely premiere later this year. 

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