LOS ANGELES — “Wax on, wax off” is now “Jacket on, jacket off,” and the original star of “The Karate Kid,” Ralph Macchio, wasn’t so sure the reboot — starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan — was a good idea.
“It’s like mixed feelings. At first, I felt old. Number one, you feel old when they start remaking your stuff,” Macchio, 48, told Access Hollywood at “The Karate Kid” premiere on Monday night in L.A.
“Once I got past the fact that there’s a whole new generation, it was more about, ‘OK, you can retell this story because it’s a beautiful story,’” the actor, who played Daniel Larusso in the original three films, said. “It’s a testament to the legacy that we created that we didn’t even know we were creating. I don’t look at it as the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It’s not the passing of the torch as much as it is the celebration of a great story.”
Macchio, who brought 14-year-son Daniel (named after his character) to the movie, recalled that the first “Karate Kid” didn’t have a star-studded Hollywood premiere like Monday’s lavish event.
“We didn’t have a big premiere for that movie, it was a little sleeper. I spoke to the writer [Robert Mark Kamen] earlier and he said, ‘Tell me how the after party is. Ours lasted 26 years.’” Macchio told Access. “We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t know the magic that was happening and the Pat Morita performance [as Mr. Miyagi] and all the Cobra Kai and ‘wax on, wax off’ and catching flies with your chopsticks and the crane just became part of everyone’s childhood and that’s what I’m here celebrating.”
Access also caught up with Chan, who plays Jaden’s mentor, Mr. Han, in the reboot.
“When we make ‘The Karate Kid,’ we just want a new ‘Karate Kid.’ It’s not the old one,” he explained. “So, I’m not Miyagi. I’m just Jackie Chan.”
The movie’s star, Smith, said he enjoyed shooting overseas despite a few language barriers.
“I just loved it in China ... I just had a great time,” Smith told Access. “The people were nice. Nobody spoke English, but I still just had a great time. I got by.”
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