‘Cobra Kai’ Star William Zabka Says There’s 1 Movie He Wishes He Could Do Over, and It’s Not ‘The Karate Kid’

Between The Karate Kid and the series Cobra Kai, William Zabka starred in a slew of classic ’80s comedies. He usually played the bully in Just One of the Guys and Back to School. Even in European Vacation, Zabka played Audrey (Dana Hill)’s inattentive boyfriend. In a recent interview, Zabka said there’s one movie he’d love to relive again, and it’s not The Karate Kid.

William Zabka leaves Johnny's apartment
William Zabka | Netflix

Zabka was a guest on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast on May 31. They discussed Zabka’s whole career, not just The Karate Kid and Cobra Kai. Here’s the movie Zabka wants to experience all over again. 

Making this movie was the most fun for William Zabka

Zabka speaks highly of all his movies, but he did single out Back to School. Rodney Dangerfield stars as a wealthy businessman who joins his son, Jason (Keith Gordon) in college. Zabka plays a diving champ who’s Jason’s main competition.

Sam Kinison and Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School
L-R: Sam Kinison and Rodney Dangerfield | Orion Pictures/Getty Images

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“If I had to do anything again today, any project, it would be Back to School again,” Zabka told Maron. “It was the best time. That movie was exactly what it was like off camera. We had a ball. It was a party. We all walked around in the frat houses in town, went to the Comedy Store and watched Rodney, Sam Kinison. It was a lot of fun. It was a good, fun set.”

William Zabka asked his mentor whether he should do ‘Back to School’

Back to School turned out to be a great experience, but after three bully or villain roles, Zabka wasn’t sure he should take another one. By that time, he was on The Equalizer with Edward Woodward playing his son. 

“I remember asking Edward Woodward his opinion because I’m like this’ll be the third d*ck I’m playing,” Zabka said. “I didn’t use that word, but third villain in a movie. What do you think? He said, ‘There’s three reasons you take a movie. 1, it’s the money. 2, it’s the people you’re working with or 3, the part’s so great you’d do it for free and you want to do it. So if it’s one of those three you can pick it. At that point it was one or two so I said okay, it’s not so much the role.”

He still made ‘Back to School’ different from Johnny Lawrence in ‘Cobra Kai’

Chas Osborne (Zabka) doesn’t want Jason on the diving team, and he really doesn’t like it when Valerie Desmond (Terry Farrell) Jason instead of him. Zabka had a different approach to the role, though.

Cobra Kai Season 3: Johnny Lawrence gets dressed up for Ali
William Zabka | Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

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“So I made him the cowardly lion,” Zabka said. “I grew my hair long. He was all bark and no bite. At the end of the movie, he gets a cramp and pusses out. I tried to make him more comedic. I knew it was a comedy which worked for about half the movie until Alan Medder, who was directing, it literally pulled me into his trailer and said, ‘Hey man, you’re reading too funny. Where’s the Johnny from Karate Kid?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, he’s in The Karate Kid, dude. I want to do something different.’ I tried to have fun with him, I love Chas Osborne.”

Source: WTF with Marc Maron

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