Cobra Kai: Ralph Macchio Memoir Offers BTS Look at Karate Kid & More

To say life has gone full circle for Ralph Macchio would be an understatement. The actor had his breakthrough hit in the 1984 film The Karate Kid starring opposite Pat Morita. The success of the film spawned three sequels, two Macchio was involved with (in 1986's Part II and 1989's Part III), building the foundation that was to be the 2018 YouTube-turned-Netflix series in the TV sequel spinoff Cobra Kai. While the actor never went away, the nostalgia craze has allowed lightning to strike twice with Macchio's upcoming memoir Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me that chronicles his time making the John G. Avildsen-directed film talking to People about the experience.

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Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita in The Karate Kid (1984). Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

"Ultimately, with 'Waxing On,' I wanted to tell my story from the unique perspective of walking in these shoes for close to 40 years now," Macchio said. "Daniel LaRusso has become such a fixture of pop culture and 'The Karate Kid; the film has continued to inspire on a human level ever since its debut in 1984. I sought to celebrate all that it has given to me." The original film followed Macchio's Daniel as he's bullied by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) after talking to his girlfriend. Daniel receives guidance from Morita's Mr. Miyagi as he teaches him enlightenment and martial arts so he can defend himself and later, compete in the upcoming karate tournament against his bully in the finals that comes from rival dojo Cobra Kai. The events of Cobra Kai pick up long after the tournament and focused equally both on the now middle-aged Daniel and Johnny trying to teach a new generation of students as they deal with the same problems they had growing up.

COBRA KAI (L to R) RALPH MACCHIO as DANIEL LARUSSO and WILLIAM ZABKA as JOHNNY LAWRENCE of COBRA KAI Cr. CURTIS BONDS BAKER/NETFLIX © 2020
COBRA KAI (L to R) RALPH MACCHIO as DANIEL LARUSSO and WILLIAM ZABKA as JOHNNY LAWRENCE of COBRA KAI Cr. CURTIS BONDS BAKER/NETFLIX © 2020

"I wrote the lion's share of the book in between shooting days on seasons 4 and 5 of the Cobra Kai series," Macchio explained."It was quite an emotional journey diving into the memories and experiences of getting the role and the making of the original film; my relationships with the extraordinary filmmakers and castmates. The magic of Mr. Miyagi." In addition to Macchio and Zabka returning, the bulk of the original cast also reprised their roles from the TKK films for Cobra Kai including Martin Kove, Thomas Ian Griffith, Tamlyn Tomita, Elizabeth Shue, Randee Heller, Yuji Okumoto, and more. Morita's passing in 2005 is reflected in the series as part of Daniel's growth as a character.

cobra kai
COBRA KAI (L to R) RALPH MACCHIO as DANIEL and YUJI OKUMOTO as CHOZEN of KID COSMIC Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2020

Waxing On breaks down how Macchio's audition, the film's memorable moments including the deciding crane kick, how he's handled the fame, the franchise's lasting cultural impact, and the current TV series. "I segue into the humbling afterlife of the late '80s and '90s with humor and honesty, zeroing in on a few do-over's I might have wished I'd had," Macchio said. "Touching on the theories and debates from the original film that plays into the huge success of the current Cobra Kai series was enjoyable to tackle in the writing process. 'The Karate Kid' has remained relevant for decades. It has been the gift that keeps on giving. With 'Waxing On,' I get to share my perspective on all of it." The book, which is published courtesy of Dutton Books, comes to stores on October 18.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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