Karate Kid Panel
Las Vegas, Nevada
|William Zabka, Rob Garrison, Sean Kenan, Martin Kove|
Before the official start to the Karate Kid panel, the panelists were standing off to the side of the room waiting and joking around. The panelists were William (Billy) Zabka, Rob Garrison, Sean Kenan (Karate Kid, Part III), and Martin Kove. My friend and I were sitting in the front row, and Billy Zabka sat in the empty seat next to my friend while the other panelists went to their seats on the stage. He said that he was going to just sit there and watch the panel.
At that time, the wife of the previous panelist came over to Billy Zabka and told him that he was her first celebrity crush. He thanked her and joked around with her. The rest of the panelists were telling him to come up on stage, and after some cajoling, he to a seat on stage and the panel officially began.
A question was asked regarding any onset injuries from the fight scenes. Billy said that Elizabeth Shue actually hit him every time in the country club scene. He (Billy) had also actually kicked Ralph Macchio in the face during the fight at the fence scene.
Martin Kove told a story about how the last scene for the first film was actually the fight between his and Pat Morita’s characters in the parking lot after the tournament. (For anyone who doesn’t know, that scene is actually the beginning of the second Karate Kid film.) Martin hurt his hand during the parking lot scene because of the car.
It’s mentioned that they had to reshoot the fence fight scene because Billy’s hair was wet and looked red with the lighting they used, and the production team thought people wouldn’t know who he was. Billy denies they had to reshoot the scene because of his hair, though he doesn’t give a reason for the reshoot.
|William Zabka and Rob Garrison|
Every scene of The Karate Kid film was shot by the director, John G. Avildsen, on a camcorder prior before shooting with the film cameras. Jerry Weintraub (producer) didn’t want Pat Morita for the role of Mr. Miyagi, but John Avildsen shot a video of Pat and showed it to Jerry to convince him of Pat Morita being the right choice.
Another fan asked about the martial arts training and/or background each panelist had for The Karate Kid. Rob and Billy said they had about three months of training four hours per day, five days per week, but Billy had additional training of seven days a week for the months just for the final fight scene. Sean trained in martial arts since he was 13 years old, and his Sensei was Pat Morita’s stunt double in the first Karate Kid film. It was this Sensei who told Sean about the open call in Los Angeles for Karate Kid 3.
|Sean Kenan and Martin Kove|
There were some jokes made about the Karate Kid reboot, which they called “The Kung Fu Kid.” A few of them were invited and attended the premiere.
The wife of the previous panelist I mentioned before asked a question, and prefaced it by telling Billy he was one of her first celebrity crushes. He responded with, “You told me over there,” pointing at the seat was sitting in, “that I was your first celebrity crush, not one of.” My friend said, “Yep, I heard it” and we were both nodding. Billy said, “See? I have witnesses.” Everyone was laughing, and I don’t even remember what her question was.
|Billy Zabka: "I have witnesses!"|
This was a really fun panel, and I really wish it had been an hour long rather than thirty minutes.