One (of many) iconic roles that I could never imagine another actor in is Pat Morita’s My Miyagi. The wise mentor of Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid, the character is a legend of both 80s cinema and film in general.
However, director John G. Avildsen was the one that pushed for Morita, as the Studio didn’t think he would be good for the part. Daniel-san himself, Ralph Macchio, talked about during an interview on Vanity Fair’s YouTube channel. You can check it out down below.
“Who was going to play Mr. Miyagi? They were talking about Toshiro Mifune, the great Japanese actor who didn’t speak any English, so that would have been a challenge. But all the sudden Arnold from Happy Daysshows up on video tape from Pat Morita and the studio did not want him. The producer did not want him. I was like, ‘Arnold, from Happy Days?’ But John Avildsen was like, ‘I’ve read him and I’ve read you and I’m putting you guys in a room together.”
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More from Macchio:
“Pat Morita and I got in a room together, just grabbed the pages, started reading. It was effortless. That magic that happened on the screen happened the first day we picked up the pages. [Morita] had Miyagi in his skin, in his mind, in his consciousness. I for whatever the reason, had the yin to the yang, literally the balance, that was the beginning of the cinema magic that resonates to this day.”
Morita garnered himself an Oscar nomination for his performance as Miyagi as well as immortalizing himself with the role. Sharing many attributes with Jedi Master Yoda, perhaps most famously their unique teaching techniques, we’ll all remember the first time Miyagi revealed what all the chores he had Daniel doing was really about.
Some famous actors who were almost iconic characters include Tom Selleck as Indiana Jone, Jack Nicholson turned down the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, and Will Smith almost playing Neo in The Matrix. One of the easier switch-outs, at least for me, is John Krasinski in the role of Captain America.
Which famous character could be switched out for you? Let us know in the comments down below!
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Source: Vanity Fair