Ralph Macchio on thre Karate Kid and Rocky Crossover Idea

Ralph Macchio has heard a lot of pitches for Karate Kid projects over the years, but one of the fastest to be shot down was a proposal for a Rocky and Karate Kid crossover.

Honestly, it could have worked: the same director, John Avildsen, directed both the first Rocky and Karate Kid films, as well as Rocky V and the Karate Kid II and III. And as Macchio reveals in his new memoir, Waxing On, Avildon jokingly referred to the Karate Kid as “the Ka-Rocky Kid” during filming, because of the similarities between the two films.

Also Read: Ralph Macchio on How Creed Shaped Cobra Kai

Macchio is currently promoting the book, and interviews have yielded a flurry of Karate Kid insights – from Macchio’s regrets about Elisabeth Shue, to his desire for a Mr. Miyagi origin story. But he saved some of his best stories for the book, including one anecdote that appears about two-thirds through about the time a screenwriter pitched him, Avildon and two studio executives on the proposed Rocky-Karate Kid crossover. It happened sometime after The Next Karate Kid, the 1994 film that was the first Karate Kid film not to feature Macchio starring as Daniel LaRusso. Instead, it features Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) mentoring a new student named Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank, in her first lead film role).

Macchio recalls in the book that the unnamed writer seized on the fact that Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is from Philadelphia and that Daniel LaRusso lived in Newark, New Jersey before moving to Reseda, California in The Karate Kid.

“It was basically a version of this,” Macchio writes. “What if Rocky Balboa had a kid and Daniel-san had a kid and they were both f—-ups and you, Ralph and Stallone, come together between New Jersey and Philadelphia to join in a Miyagi/Mickey style of fight training. People would go nuts!

Macchio vividly remembers the studio executives leaning in “as if they were attempting to will it to make sense.” But he added that he and Avildsen shared a “mystified” look and that the director “burst into laughter, simply responding that it would not work and was a forced idea.”

(May I editorialize? With all respect to Avildsen, who died in 2017, I would 100 percent see this movie, even now. Rocky Balboa apparently isn’t in Creed III — maybe he’s off running around with Daniel LaRusso? As we know from the hit Karate Kid spinoff series Cobra Kai, LaRusso does have a son whose prone to drama. I’m not sure why Daniel-san and Rocky would need fight training to help their kids — or grandkids, or whomever — but that’s for the writers to figure out. Maybe they could just go into business designing headbands?)

While we may never get a LaRusso-Balboa meetup, the extended Rocky universe did play a part in the existence of Cobra Kai: Macchio said on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron that when the Cobra Kai creators pitched him on their idea for the series, he was more receptive to the idea because “I’d just seen Creed, which was sort of, ‘How do you do the Rocky universe and not be Rocky?’”

Cobra Kai is now streaming on Netflix.

Main image: Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid and Sylvester Stallone in Rocky II.