As fans are aware, the acclaimed series “Cobra Kai” is the continuation of the “Karate Kid” film franchise. While the show focuses on the lives of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William “Billy” Zabka), there are also quite a few teenage characters. Two of which are ruthless Cobra Kai student Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz, played by Jacob Bertrand, and earnest martial artist Miguel Diaz, played by Xolo Maridueña.
Xolo Maridueña & Jacob Bertrand Discussed Working With the Original “Karate Kid” Cast
In a behind-the-scenes interview with Entertainment Tonight, filmed during the production of “Cobra Kai” season 3, Bertrand and Maridueña briefly talked about working with the original “Karate Kid” cast members. Maridueña explained that starring on “Cobra Kai” is “really surreal” for him because the “Karate Kid” film franchise has had quite a cultural impact for almost 40 years. The 19-year-old also disclosed that being able to work with and befriend Ralph Macchio and William Zabka has been an unusual experience.
“To just be a small part of that continuation of that story is just super super surreal because you know, Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka and all these characters, had such a large role in a lot of people growing up,” explained the actor. “And so getting to work with them and calling them our friends and you know, getting to have dinner with them is really weird in a sense. It’s awesome. It’s a blessing.”
Bertrand was quick to interject that he also believed “it is weird” to have Macchio as a co-star.
“Sometimes I’ll be on set and Ralph will come up and talk to me and we’ll be hanging out, laughing. And I’ll look at him and be like, ‘wow Ralph Macchio is laughing in front of me.’ Every once in a while I’ll be like, ‘dang this is weird.’ But it’s Ralph you know,” explained the 21-year-old with a laugh.
Ralph Macchio & William Zabka Have Talked About Their Younger “Cobra Kai” Co-Stars
Ralph Macchio and William Zabka have also discussed working alongside the show’s younger cast members, like Bertrand and Maridueña. While speaking to Vulture in 2018, the actors, who both have two children, revealed that being parents helped them convincingly play mentors to teenage martial arts students. Macchio noted that his children, Julia, 28, and Daniel, 25, “are a little older than the kids in the show.”
“[S]o I sort of lived that as a parent and as a mentor, if you will. It felt natural,” explained the actor.
During the interview, Zabka shared similar information and spoke highly about his younger co-stars.
“I’m a father now, and to work with these kids, they were amazing. They were super-excited to be there, and they were so easy to work with. It really ended up not even feeling like acting,” said the actor.
In a joint 2020 interview with Esquire, Zabka and Macchio commented on how fatherhood is an important theme throughout the “Karate Kid” franchise. While speaking to the publication, Zabka asserted that being a paternal figure in real life “plays into the show.”
To see more of Bertrand, Maridueña, Zabka, and Macchio, check out “Cobra Kai,” available to stream on Netflix.
READ NEXT: How Tamlyn Tomita Reacted To Being Reunited With Ralph Macchio