Eryk Anders landed a role in popular TV series, ‘Cobra Kai’. But that’s not the only thing that ‘landed’. The UFC Middleweight can now call himself an actor after being featured in one of Netflix’s hottest shows. Anders would cross paths with William’s Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence in his acting debut.
Tucked away in the courtyard of the new Kreher Preserve & Nature Center building sits the Volunteer Bench, a resting place crafted with colorful tiles. It honors over a decade of volunteerism from Johnny Lawrence, who passed away in July 2020 after a battle with COVID-19. “He was my buddy,”...
"The Emmys aren’t until September, but I’m kicking off the Nominate Cobra Kai Movement now," says Lorraine Ali. "Season 4 of Netflix’s martial arts series, and more pointedly its lead William Zabka, should be top contenders in the comedy categories. If I could end this paragraph with a low roundhouse kick and knee strike to drive my point home, I would." Cobra Kai, she notes, may have landed a comedy series Emmy nomination last year, "but the action may have distracted voters from Cobra Kai’s strength as an inventive, cohesive series that over four seasons has refined its comedic rhythm like its characters have perfected their fighting skills. At the forefront of the charge is series lead and co-executive producer William Zabka" in reprising his rich-kid bully Johnny Lawrence role with his and Ralph Macchio's Daniel LaRusso's Karate Kid fortunes reversed. "Johnny’s glacial self-improvement — two good deeds forward, three six-packs back — could have become a mere shtick in another performer’s hands," says Ali. "But Zabka has craftily pushed the stubborn character to grow without forfeiting Johnny’s dude-like essence. Though set in his ways, the All-Valley tournament champ is never the same from season to season, despite his penchant for Judas Priest cranked to 11 and Manwiches seasoned with beef jerky. He is the heart and soul of the show." Ali adds: "Thanks largely to Zabka, Cobra Kai is a comedy that needs to be taken seriously."
While Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence have found common ground in their fight against John Kreese, their teaching styles could not be more dissimilar. Yesteday, LaRusso challenged Miguel, Eli and a few other students to catch fish in his pond. Today, Johnny Lawrence is challenging Samantha, Demetri and a group of other students to jump from one building to the next like a superhero. In doing so, their only fail safe is a pile of mattresses way down at the ground.
The final moments of the first Karate Kid movie transformed two lives forever when Daniel LaRusso pulled off the Miyagi-taught crane kick on Johnny Lawrence. That’s when Daniel ascended to franchise hero at the All Valley Karate Tournament, and Johnny got pushed down into the gutter by his sensei, and arguably life, forever. In the moments immediately thereafter, Johnny admitted, “You’re alright, LaRusso!” Cobra Kai has yet to follow up on how those words fell by the wayside (although I did dig some insight out of Ralph Macchio ahead of Season 3).
Interview: William Zabka is back as Johnny Lawrence in ‘Cobra Kai,’ and this time he’s Emmy-nominated [VIDEO]
How many Academy Award-nominated writers have followed that up by revisiting a role they originated 30 years later? The list is very exclusive: Sylvester Stallone for 1976’s Rocky. How many of them have followed that up with their first Emmy nomination? Enter William Zabka, who was Oscar-nominated for the 2003 Live Action Short Film Most. While returning to the role of Johnny Lawrence might have raised some eyebrows at the time, it has resulted in a career renaissance for this very talented artist. Cobra Kai has become wildly popular since coming to Netflix and fans can’t wait for season 4 which is set to drop at the end of the year.