Actor Ralph Macchio has revealed some of the many pitches he’s received to revive his Karate Kid character Daniel LaRusso, including an idea that would have him teamed up with Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa.
“I can’t begin to share all the arguments and ideas I’ve heard for thirty years about how and why I should go back to LaRusso,” the actor noted, detailing the ideas that showcased everything from Mr. Miyagi to as a ghost, to LaRusso raising his drug-addicted teenage son.
But Macchio’s favorite failed pitch came when he was having lunch with studio execs and director John Avildsen, who had helmed both The Karate Kid and Rocky. “I remember how enthusiastically the writer gave his ‘elevating pitch’ to John, me, and studio executives,” Macchio recalls, before paraphrasing the idea: “What if Rocky Balboa had a child and Daniel-san had a child and they were both crazy and you Ralph and Stallone get together between New Jersey and Philadelphia to join in some Miyagi/Mickey style sparring training. People would go crazy!
The pitch left Macchio stunned. “A pregnant break. It seemed to last ten minutes, although it was probably only four seconds.
Surprisingly, the actor felt that studio executives — thinking more about profits than plot points — might actually be open to such an absurd idea. “My mind raced to piece together visions of Stallone and me running through the Newark slums,” he recalled thinking.
That’s when Avildsen spoke. “John burst out laughing, simply responding that it wouldn’t work and it was a forced idea,” Macchio recalled. “I believe he said diplomatically that he was not interested in combining these two franchises or these characters.”
For more than 30 years, Macchio refused to see LaRusso again, admitting he was “extremely protective” of the character. He eventually returned to the role on the show Cobra Kai, which launched in 2018 and became a hit for Netflix. The fifth season of the show premiered in September.
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