It’s been 35 years since “The Karate Kid” debuted and made Ralph Macchio almost synonymous with the film’s title.
Reprising the role of Daniel LaRusso decades later, Macchio currently stars in YouTube’s second season of “The Karate Kid” television spinoff, “Cobra Kai.” He told CNN in a recent interview that he embraces being so closely associated with the film.
“Being at this point in my life and understanding how rare these scenarios are where you can touch millions of people around the world with a story and a character, being negative about that is just silly,” he said.
Macchio said he’s still approached by strangers who share stories about how their lives were changed by “The Karate Kid.”
“I try to embrace it all and consider it a blessing,” he said. “It’s bigger than me, Daniel LaRusso is way bigger than the actor who wants to prove himself, that he can do other things as well. I’m doing that whether people see that or not.”
Macchio said for years he was asked to return to the role, but it never felt right until Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg pitched him on their concept for “Cobra Kai.”
“I always felt the legacy of the film, I was very protective of it. I was very protective of the character and felt it was easier and smarter to let the legacy stand on its own and not attempt to go back to the well,” Macchio said. “But [‘Cobra Kai’] was a combination of the creators, writers and producers who had just a smart angle and vision for this show. They were the 11 and 12-year-old kids that saw the movie a thousand times and wanted to make the show that they wanted to see. I believe that they were the right guys to do it.”
The second season premiered on Wednesday and has already amassed more than 13 million views.
“The coolest part about being on YouTube is that you’re not waiting until Monday morning to see how you did over the weekend,” Macchio said. “You are watching it like everybody else in real time, you’re seeing the views go up and see people’s comments, that’s a great experience.”