Karate Kid 2 Villain Says Cobra Kai Season 3 Gives Daniel And Chozen 'Closure'
Actor Yuji Okumoto talks about reprising his role as Chozen, the villain of Karate Kid 2, ahead of Netflix's Cobra Kai Season 3.
Cobra Kai's third season quickly approaches. We're waiting with bated breath to find out how Miguel and the other kids are doing after the epic karate riot that acted as a climax for the show's second season, but the grown-ups have their own struggles. The third season sees Daniel LaRusso heading back to Okinawa, where he once again encounters Chozen, whom he battled to protect his romantic interest, Kumiko in Karate Kid Part II. Ahead of the season, actor Yuji Okamoto looks at the past and future of his iconic '80s villain in a new interview with EW.
"I never forgot about Chozen, because he was a big part of my life," Okumoto said. The actor had a back story written for his character, and had even written about what has happened to Chozen since his life-and-death battle against Daniel.
"When the Cobra Kai people came to me, I actually had all this stuff still recorded, and I had a nice discussion and gave them my input about what happened to him possibly after the final showdown with him and Daniel," Okumoto explained.
For Okumoto, one of the highlights of filming was going to Okinawa, the southernmost of Japan's main islands. Karate Kid Part II was set in Okinawa, but it was actually filmed in Hawaii.
"The whole style of Miyagi-Do is based off of [real-world Karate style] Goju-Ryu, which was founded in Okinawa," Okumoto sad. "So being able to shoot where Goju-Ryu style karate began was really special. I can't even explain how blown away I was to have actually made it to Okinawa to shoot Cobra Kai, and to be there with Ralph."
Okumoto praised Macchio's professionalism, and talks about rehearsing fight scenes with him ahead of filming, which allowed them to "catch up and talk story in between kicking each others' asses" ahead of what Okumoto called four significant fight scenes in the episode they're in together. Okumoto links Cobra Kai to real life, too, connecting one of the show's earliest fight scenes, in which protagonist Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) pulls a hamstring due to being out of practice.
"Sure enough, on my last fight on the set of Cobra Kai, I threw a kick and pulled my hammy so bad. My first thought was, 'Seriously?'" Okumoto said. He ultimately finished the scene thanks to some creative camera work, and dove into rehab once he got to his home in Seattle, Washington.
Okumoto hopes the pair's final fight will give fans of his character closure.
"When people see the end scene between Chozen and Daniel, I think they will be satisfied with that closer. And who knows beyond that. I'm kind of the last Miyagi-Do connection for Daniel's character. There's always that possibility for them to continue," Okumoto said, hinting that while they meet in battle, they might end on better terms.
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