From shooting barefoot, playing games to who has the best stories, look behind the scenes with the cast of 'Cobra Kai'
Meaww gets talking with Courtney Henggeler, Gianni DeCenzo, Jacob Bertrand and Cameron Markeles as they share their experience of working with William Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
When the 'Karate Kid' was first released in 1984, it managed to win the hearts of millions and it did it all over again as 'Cobra Kai' made its way into the world of web series. Set in 34 years after the original movie aired, the comedy-drama follows the reopening of the 'Cobra Kai' karate dojo by Johnny Lawrence and the rekindling of his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso. In an exclusive interview with Meaww, Courtney Henggeler (Amanda LaRusso), Gianni DeCenzo ( Demetri), Jacob Bertrand (Eli/ Hawk), and Cameron Markeles (Frank) talk about their experience working with William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) and Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso) and what went into preparing for their respective roles.
Before being made into the web series, 'Karate Kid' was the ultimate action-packed film for everyone in the 1980s and it does not surprise that even after all these years the show has managed to leave the same impact that the movie did once upon a time. For Courtney, 'The Karate Kid' "was a staple" in her house. As for Jacob, it happened to be something that he and his brother connected to."I was a huge fan of the original karate kid. My brother and I started wrestling around the house trying to do karate, knocking over lamps and stuff for weeks after we saw the movie," he said. Even though Gianni and Cameron may not have experienced the emotions of Courtney and Jacob, there sure did fall in love with the plot of the movie. “I had seen the movie before. But it was before my time so I feel that there was a bit of a disconnect there, but I really did enjoy the movie," said Gianni, while Cameron added, "I had actually never seen The 'Karate Kid' before the theater screening of the original movie and the first two episodes of 'Cobra Kai'. It was cool to get to watch it for the first time on the big screen. My parents have always been big fans though, so we were all excited about the sequel from the very beginning."
The web series sees William (Johnny Lawrence) and Ralph (Daniel LaRusso) reprising their roles and while the two may seem like enemies on-screen, things are a lot different behind the scenes. "I didn’t get the chance to work with Billy until the end of the season. Which is a real bummer because he’s so fantastic in this!" said Courtney. " I couldn’t wait for our scene together. He had me laughing so hard. There’s a moment when Billy, Ralph and I are all at the kitchen table and then we step away and Billy’s still on camera eating his eggs. Every take he just kept shaking more and more salt on his eggs. It was so ridiculous and so amazing. Almost all my scenes involved Ralph and he’s wonderful. He has a great eye for detail and knows exactly what he wants out of his scenes. Plus between takes, he always has the best stories!"
As for Jacob, hearing that he would be working with the movie legends, the entire idea seemed a bit intimidating, "I will admit I was a little intimidated when I realized I'd be working with Billy and Ralph," he said. On my first day, they both walked into the makeup trailer and said hi to me. They were so down to earth and nice to me. On set, their experience shows. They're both very professional and very good at what they do. It was very cool to work alongside them." Unfortunately, both, Gianni and Cameron did not get to share the screen with Ralph but their experience with William happens to be the one they can never forget.
"In my scene with William Zabka, he was very professional during the entire process. He even taught a couple of kids karate moves in between takes. During our scene together when I throw the punch he told me to genuinely try to hit him, so I did, and sure enough, he blocked it like the badass he is," Gianni recalled. "[William] is a wonderful actor and a really nice guy. It is funny because he is nothing like his character, Johnny, in the original movie," added Cameron.
While the second season of the show is set to release in May 2019, there is a lot that the cast still takes back from what happened behind-the-scenes in season one. "There are quite a few scenes where I’m not wearing any shoes," recalled Courtney. I’m fully dressed in my boss lady, business attire but I’m completely shoe-less. Ralph and I are about the same height, but if you put a pair of heels on me, I get creepy tall. Which looks like an odd pairing on screen. So there were a few times when a pair of flats were not close enough to set, and I ended up being this strange, shoe-less businesswoman."
Meanwhile, Gianni told us how he found a way to have fun when the production for the shot was delayed by two days. "Well something that really shocked everyone was that towards the end of filming there was a snow storm in Georgia which we were told rarely happens," he recalled. "It was so bad that we had to shut down production and ended up being behind 2 days of filming. Hanna who plays the character “Moon” and I had a blast playing “I spy” while waiting for what seemed to be an eternity sitting in the bleachers before doing our scene during the tournament. I, of course, won."
As for Cameron, he sure did have his "cold doesn't bother me anyway" moment all thanks to the show. "The outdoor party scene was shot on one of the coldest days of filming, but we had to pretend the weather was warm so we couldn’t wear jackets. We all had to huddle up near heaters and cover up with blankets between takes," he said while adding, "another interesting thing was that Nichole (who plays Aisha) was actually punched during a fight scene by mistake."
Even though the release date of the second season is not yet decided, people are counting the days until they can see all of them back on the screen.