The acclaimed series “Cobra Kai” continues the storylines of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who were rivals in the 1984 film “The Karate Kid.” Even though the characters and the actors who portray them are middle-aged, they often show off their karate skills.
Xolo Maridueña Revealed He Initially Had Some Doubts About Macchio & Zabka’s Martial Arts Skills
In a January interview with GQ, Xolo Maridueña, who portrays Johnny’s karate student Miguel Diaz, admitted that he had some doubts about Zabka and Macchio’s martial arts abilities due to their age.
“In season one, Johnny [Billy Zabka’s character] has this huge fight with four high schoolers. During the rehearsal for that fight I was, like, ‘Oh, man, these dudes are in their 50s, they’re probably rusty,’” revealed the 19-year-old.
He went on to say that he was incorrect in his assumption and that the actors “are professionals,” which “shows onscreen.” Maridueña also stated that Macchio and Zabka “go really intense with the stretching” during the production of “Cobra Kai.” He disclosed their dedication to stretch before performing stunts inspired him to do the same.
“So it instilled in me in the earliest moments of filming how important it was. You throw one wrong kick and you pull something and you’re out for the rest of the day,” said the actor.
In a Separate Interview Maridueña Revealed He Thought Macchio & Zabka Would Be ‘Jerks’
While speaking to Page Six in February, Maridueña suggested he was apprehensive about working with Macchio and Zabka because he believed they would have unpleasant attitudes.
“To be quite honest, I thought, ‘Oh, these guys are going to be jerks. They got so famous when they were so young, there’s no way,’” explained the actor.
Maridueña stated, however, that he was soon proven wrong.
“But even on that first day, they were so fricking welcoming. It’s so much more pleasant to work with people who are respectful than jerks,” asserted the actor.
During a behind-the-scenes interview with Entertainment Tonight, alongside his “Cobra Kai” co-star Jacob Bertrand, Maridueña commented on his friendship with the iconic actors.
“It is really surreal in the sense that this movie, you know, ‘The Karate Kid’ and even the ones that came out after that really impacted people’s lives and to just be a small continuation of that story is super, super surreal because, you know, Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka and all these characters had such a large role in a lot people growing up so getting to work with them and call them our friends and have dinner with them is really weird in a sense but it’s awesome. It’s a blessing,” said the actor.
Bertrand shared similar sentiments about Macchio.
“It is weird. Sometimes I’ll — we’ll be on a set and Ralph will come up and talk to me and we’ll be just hanging out laughing and I’ll look at him like ‘wow, like, Ralph Macchio is laughing in front of me.’ Every once in a while it’s like ‘dang it’s weird’ but it’s Ralph, you know,” shared the 21-year-old.
To see more of Maridueña and Bertrand, watch “Cobra Kai,” available to stream on Netflix.