Ralph Macchio has had a long and successful career but there’s no doubt that the character he’s most associated with is Daniel LaRusso from ‘The Karate Kid’ franchise. He played the character in three films – ‘The Karate Kid’ (1984), ‘The Karate Kid Part II’ (1986) and ‘The Karate Kid Part III’ (1989) – and he reprised the role for the hit series ‘Cobra Kai’, which started in 2018 and is still going strong. Nearly 40 years after the original film was released, Macchio is sharing his experiences and stories from the franchise in his new book ‘Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me’.
If you’re expecting a bog standard autobiography then Macchio’s book isn’t going to be for you. Rather than dragging the reader through his childhood and every little detail that happened before becoming famous, Macchio instead almost solely focuses on ‘The Karate Kid’ franchise. While he does share stories from other parts of his career, he always brings it back to ‘The Karate Kid’ and the end result is a fascinating insight into a franchise that has had a huge impact on popular culture.
Macchio tells his stories in a charismatic and engaging way, and his enthusiasm drips off every page. He opens the book by talking about the long process of securing the lead role in ‘The Karate Kid’ and you get the impression that he still can’t believe his look all these years on. Macchio shares with the reader his original dislike of the title and really helps them dive into a world he’s been a huge part of for a very long time.
What shines through in the book is Macchio’s passion for the franchise and his respect for the cast and crew members he’s worked with. The late Pat Morita, who played Mr. Miyagi, Daniel’s disciplined teacher, is remembered fondly by Macchio who admits he wasn’t sure Morita was the right actor to play the pivotal role. Once the two screen tested, it became clear there chemistry would go down in cinematic history and Macchio frequently praises his late co-star.
It’s interesting to note that Macchio is honest about the franchise too. He admits to having some issues with the original script for ‘The Karate Kid’ and he explains away the lesser sequels by informing the reader he was locked into a multi-film contract when he signed on for the first film. He does acknowledge though that ‘The Karate Kid Part III’, while not well-received by fans, did lay the groundwork for the story that continues on in ‘Cobra Kai’.
‘Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me’ is a breath of fresh air in the autobiography genre. Macchio understands what the reader wants to know and he more than delivers. At times touching and always engaging, the book is a real love letter to the franchise that made Macchio a globally recognised actor and fans of ‘Cobra Kai’ will delight finding out more about how that came to be.
Publisher: Dutton Release date: 20th October 2022 Buy ‘Waxing On: The Karate Kid and Me’ now