Why Production for Karate Kid III Had to Be Stopped for Two Weeks

Daniel LaRusso The Karate Kid Part III

YouTube Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) speaks to Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in the 'Karate Kid Part III.'

The 1989 martial arts film The Karate Kid Part III had a brief pause in its production because of Ralph Macchio, who played Daniel LaRusso. In an August 2020 interview with US Weekly, the actor revealed that he came into contact with poison oak during filming. 

“I developed a nasty case of poison oak while shooting The Karate Kid Part III, and we had to halt production for over two weeks,” explained Macchio. 


Ralph Macchio Provided More Details About His Reaction To Poison Oak in a 2020 Interview

Ralph Macchio

GettyRalph Macchio talks during San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Day Two.

The 59-year-old provided more details about the unfortunate incident during a December 2020 interview with the cast and crew from the Karate Kid franchise hosted by Josh Gad, which was uploaded on Netflix’s YouTube channel. The actor revealed he encountered poison oak while filming the scene where Daniel and Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively) descent a cliff to uproot Mr. Miyagi’s (Pat Morita) bonsai tree.

In the movie, Daniel and his sensei were in the process of starting their own business, called Mr. Miyagi’s Little Trees, when their trees were stolen. Without consulting his business partner, Daniel hatches a plan to get the expensive bonsai with the intention of selling it to afford new stock.

Daniel and Jessica, a skilled climber, manage to get to the tree with little difficulty. However, once the New Jersey native uproots it, his friend nearly falls. He saves her but loses his grip on the bonsai.

The teenagers recover the tree before it got washed away. Unfortunately, Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan), Snake (Jonathan Avildsen), and Dennis (William Christopher Ford) pull up Daniel and Jessica’s ropes, as a way to intimidate the karate student into participating in the 1985 All-Valley Tournament.

While speaking to Josh Gad, Macchio noted that there had been poison oak “on the side of that hill” in the scene.

“I remember one of the guys — one the crew guys said, ‘you know you should watch it there’s a little bit of poison oak in there so just be careful.’ I’m hanging off the cliff all day, touching everything,” recalled the father-of-two.

He went on to say that he developed a severe reaction the following day. 

“I wake up the next morning, and I just said to my wife at the time I said, ‘my eyes, I can’t even see they feel swollen,’” said the actor. 

Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the first three Karate Kid films, proceeded to tease Macchio. 

“And we thought, Ralph, you were allergic to being the ‘Karate Kid,’” quipped the writer. 


Macchio Did Not Enjoy ‘The Karate Kid Part III’

Ralph Macchio

GettyRalph Macchio is photographed at ‘The IMDb Show’ in 2019.

Getting poison oak is not the only issue Macchio had with The Karate Kid Part III. In a January interview on the Sway podcast, he revealed that he did not enjoy the movie but clarified “it has nothing to do with the actors involved.”

“I just felt for the LaRusso character he never went forward. It felt like we were redoing the first movie in a cartoon kind of a sense without the heart and soul,” explained the actor. 

To see more of Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, watch Cobra Kai, available on Netflix. 

READ NEXT: Did William Zabka Have an Issue With the Karate Kid Remake?


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