Ralph Macchio played the role of the 1984 The Karate Kid’s protagonist Daniel LaRusso, and reprised the role in the sequels, which came out in 1986 and 1989. After that, Ralph was hit with several pitches throughout the years, and he refused working in any of them.
However, after Ralph Macchio started playing the character of Daniel LaRusso once again in the hit series Cobra Kai, it piqued the curiosity of fans. Why would he want to work again in the series he never bothered to go back to for more than 30 years? Ralph answered this in a 2019 interview with Business Insider.
The concept of going back, I was always ‘No, no, no.’ Why touch that again? It has such a blessed light on it. Everything happened right. Pat Morita’s [as Mr. Miyagi] performance is treasured. Why would you go back and do that when everyone is trying to do that — and, for the most part, failing?
Ralph was also approached for a role in The Karate Kid starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, which came out in 2010. However, Macchio refused the role as well, saying that he encouraged the creators doing their own thing.
Like, when they remade the movie, I told them, ‘Go make your movie. I’m not going to be involved.’ I let that be its own thing… They wanted me to do a cameo or something in it, and I passed on thatRalph Macchio on why he didn’t want to work in The Karate Kid, 2010
The 59-year-old actor, who still shocks his fans and audiences throughout the world about how young he still looks, revealed that the creators of Cobra Kai, namely Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg, were so passionate and creative with the content that he had to say yes.
[T]hese guys really had a very well-thought-out pitch by coming in through the eyes of Johnny Lawrence [played by William “Billy” Zabka] — basically turning the prism view in the universe. And they had such passion. It was an instinct that they wanted to make a show the fans wanted to see. I have said no for 30 years. I was definitely the last guy to come to the party. I was the piece, arguably, that they had to get.
Ralph stated that he appreciated the way Cobra Kai’s creators approached the story and managed to incorporate the memory of Mr. Miyagi on the show. He also supports the idea that the proper way to keep the franchise going is through a series. While Ralph is finally part of the series once again, fans of the series, both young and old, feel like a hole has been filled.