Given that he’s played the character since the ‘80s movies, it’s fair to say that Ralph Macchio knows a thing or two about Daniel LaRusso. In the gap between the original Karate Kid movies and the TV series, Cobra Kai, Daniel became a successful car salesman, with his face emblazoned on billboards and his infamous kick from the teen movie turning into a gimmick for his car sales commercials.
Although Daniel has undoubtedly grown since his first appearance in the comedy series, Ralph Macchio admitted in an interview with GQ that he was initially uncertain about the direction his character was going in.
“Where LaRusso sat in the world was not necessarily what I would’ve written,” he explained, in reference to the Netflix series. “I joke with them even to this day, our three creators, you know, I say, ‘At what point did you start thinking of how does this work, what’s the honesty for Daniel LaRusso?’ You could feel that the initial concept is like, OK, here’s Johnny Lawrence, how can we make his life as miserable as possible?”
“What could we have LaRusso be doing that makes it worse for him? Make him a car dealer, make him on billboards, he’s on television commercials. So then I’m like, ‘OK what’s the honesty for LaRusso at that point?’ There’s a push and a pull there, and it was about the long game. Fortunately, the series is going long. ”
He added, “You know, I would always argue LaRusso had this great mentor, this grounded mother, would he really have gone in this direction of being a guy who wanted the camera on himself, who used his one kick to rub in the face of everyone?”
Season 5 of Cobra Kai is now available to watch on the streaming service Netflix. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more content where people strike first and strike hard, check out our guide to the best action movies.
If you want to know more about LaRusso’s adventures, check out our guide to Cobra Kai season 6.