Why William Zabka Said He Wants ‘to Try Daniel LaRusso’s Skin On’

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio Comic-Con

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

Since 2018, William “Billy” Zabka has portrayed the complicated sensei Johnny Lawrence on the acclaimed series “Cobra Kai.” The character was first introduced in the 1984 martial arts film “The Karate Kid.” Johnny spends the majority of the film harassing Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), as the New Jersey native had taken a romantic interest in his ex-girlfriend Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue). 


William ‘Billy’ Zabka Discussed Wanting To Play Daniel LaRusso

During a recent live stream, uploaded on the official Sony Pictures Television Studios Instagram account, Zabka read fan questions to his “Cobra Kai” co-stars Xolo Maridueña, who plays Miguel Diaz, Peyton List, who plays Tory Nichols, and Jacob Bertrand, who plays Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz. The 55-year-old asked his castmates which “character on the show” would they like to play beside their own. 

Maridueña immediately responded that he would “like to be Stingray.” As fans of “Cobra Kai” are aware, the character is an adult who joins the Cobra Kai dojo played by comedian Paul Walter Hauser. 

“I’d just love to get into the mind of Paul. He’s so naturally funny, I would love to just sit in his shoes for a day. There’s definitely times on set where, you know, Josh [Heald], Jon [Hurwitz] and Hayden [Schlossberg], [the show’s] directors and creators are like just like go, just do whatever, just go for it. And he’s a genius, so I think it would be cool to be Stingray,” said the 20-year-old actor. 

List shared that she was interested in portraying John Kreese (Martin Kove). Bertrand also joked that he “want[ed] to play Carmen,” Miguel’s mother, portrayed by Vanessa Rubio, “so [he] could have such a wonderful son.”

Zabka revealed that he wanted to portray his on-screen rival. 

“For a minute, I’d have to try Daniel LaRusso’s skin on. That would be just such a blast. To have a house and to have everything together, you know, no worries in the world, you know what I mean, like that would be fun. I’d have to try Daniel LaRusso on,” said Zabka. 

Zabka previously spoke about playing Daniel during a January 2021 appearance on “The View,” alongside Ralph Macchio. He explained that his children, whose names have not been released to the public, “have still not seen the ‘Karate Kid’ movies.” 

“I always said if I played Daniel LaRusso, they would have seen it on day one. That’s your dad! But I don’t want them to see that guy taking the crane kick, you know, so they haven’t seen it,” quipped Zabka. 


William ‘Billy’ Zabka Spoke About Ralph Macchio in May 2021

During a May 2021 interview on Entertainment Weekly’s “The Awardist” podcast, Zabka spoke about Macchio. He explained that he and his “Karate Kid” co-star became “closer and closer” after the passing of Pat Morita, who famously played Mr. Miyagi, in 2005. 

“When he passed away, we reunited at his memorial service and that was the beginning of Ralph and I becoming reconnected after all the years of us going our different ways,” shared Zabka. “So we’ve developed a very natural relationship over the years. We banter back and forth, we rib each other, we’ll do a Comic-Con, we’re on the panels, we like to give each other a hard time and one-up each other so that competition between us and that kind of good nature is already there organically, you know, just between us as friends.”

READ NEXT: Why Courtney Henggeler Is ‘Grateful’ To Play Ralph Macchio’s Wife


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