To say Netflix's Cobra Kai has become an inspirational series would be an understatement given the growth of its characters. Gianni DeCenzo's Demetri long abhorred martial arts, because of the physical and potentially violent nature as he experienced firsthand getting bullied. He often relied on his wit even when his one-time best friend Eli aka Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) turned on him. Demetri finally came around when Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) saw his potential and he eventually joined Miyagi-Do. DeCenzo spoke with TV Line about his character's growth and the positive fan reception for his character.
Demetri's Cobra Kai Evolution
"When we were on YouTube we got recognition but going on to Netflix it definitely increased our visibility a lot," DeCenzo said. "With the pandemic, I wear my mask everywhere I go. Even then, I still get recognized. I had someone come up to me today and said, 'I knew you from the eyes!' I'm feeling a lot more support and love. I'm happy we have such an amazing fanbase." The actor admits there's some crossover between himself and his character. "Over time being on the show, the line gets blurrier. I do put a lot of myself in Demetri," he explained. "I am very nerdy. I enjoy anime, Magic: The Gathering, all that stuff. I'm not as sarcastic and crass as him, but it's pretty close. When we were doing the mall fight in season 2, I'm in the comic book store and in between rehearsals during that entire fight scene, I actually went over to the comic book store and bought some comic books. 'Deadpool,' really good edition. I think that says it all."
DeCenzo is cognizant of how empathetic Demetri is. "I didn't even expect when I first started that I would be able to help people the way I have," he said. "I know what it's like not to be the 'cool kid.' It can be tough. I'm glad as Demetri I can show people it can also be worse. You can be beaten up by a whole karate gang but just power through it. In all seriousness, it is cool to show people you can make it through." The actor broke down his training regiment each season. "Before each season we have a solid two weeks of just training. We have a little bungalow where we train and work out. The stunt people kick the shit out of us for a solid two weeks to make sure we can kick the shit out of each other, which is a beautiful thing. I definitely think that compared to season 1, I've grown. If you look back then to now, I look like I could kill past me. It's awesome." For more on DeCenzo talking about Cobra Kai-related items like if he's gotten injured on set, Demetri and Eli's friendship and his off-camera bond with Bertrand, his memorable season three speech that brought Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang together, the leadership from William Zabka and Macchio provide on set, and what he can tease about season four, you can go to TV Line.
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