Cobra Kais Thomas Ian Griffith teases Chilling Terry Silver Future – The Hollywood Reporter

Thomas Ian Griffith is right with the Cobra Kai fans: he can’t believe Terry Silver is back – and he loves every minute of the fiendish karate kid villain’s return too.

The popular Netflix series released its fourth season on New Year’s Eve and within a few days, according to the streaming giant’s own metrics, it was one of the top titles on the platform worldwide.

Among the newest cast members in the series, Griffith repeats his antagonist, who was featured in Karate Kid Part III in 1989. And just like in this movie, Terry Silver is here to make Daniel LaRusso’s life hell.

Although Part III wasn’t as well received as the two previous films in the series and star Ralph Macchio was critical of the final product upon release, Griffith told The Hollywood Reporter that he had a great time getting the picture and proud of his is achievement – though he’s the first to admit that the character’s original incarnation was thin.

But that was the valley then, and that is the valley now. And down in the valley, Griffith is now getting a second bite in the Terry Silver apple – and he’s making it count with a newly constructed complex character who has already shot to the top of the most hated list of fans. And Griffith teases that the ride is going to be even wilder.

Congratulations on the great success of the fourth season. How was the response for you in the last week?

It was surreal. I am amazed that so many people are Terry Silver fans. Even with that first little teaser that Netflix put out, I was shocked. It was a ride and so fulfilling to take a character from the first movie I ever made and bring him back all these years later. It was an archetypal two-dimensional over-the-top character and suddenly he’s this complex, multi-dimensional character.

Ralph was critical of Part III – but loves that there was Cobra Kai Terry Silver. What do you think of the 1989 episode?

Thomas Ian Griffith, Martin Kove and Pat Morita in “The Karate Kid Part III”.
Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

For me, I had just come to LA from New York, and [the late director] John Avildsen risked an unknown actor. It’s by no means a great film, but to this day I am proud of my work because I had the courage not to hold back. Avildsen kept pushing me to try. And that was risky when, as an actor, you went into an already established project. It was a positive experience for me, but I didn’t carry the weight of the previous films. Some of it worked and some of it didn’t, but I had the courage to just try, which I can credit to myself.

I hadn’t seen the movie in a long time, but recently it was on TV and my wife said, “We need to see it!” And I said, “No, we don’t.” But we did, and it was like, Oh, there were dimensions and levels with this manipulative charm that I could latch onto all those years later. There were also a couple of things that did so, once they decided to get into the movie, just imagine what the outtakes were like! (Laughs)

Had you continued your martial arts studies all these years or were you a bit rusty when you came back for Cobra Kai?

I’ve been a martial artist all my life and that just kept evolving. It’s part of me It’s my therapy. When the makers initially asked me: “Are you in shape?” I said: “That won’t be a problem.” But then you go to the set and I look at the stunt double and think, “I’m pedaling so much faster.” So I jump up and volunteer. What I didn’t consider is that I’ll be doing this 10 hours a day now. So believe me, I was sitting in an Epsom salt bath that night and thinking, “What the hell have I got myself into?” (Laughs)

One of Terry’s first scenes is the hilarious explanation of his bombastic, unpredictable behavior in Karate Kid III, which makes fun of at some stupid moments. Initially, were you nervous about revisiting the character due to the lack of depth?

Lazy loaded image

Martin Kove and Thomas Ian Griffith in “Cobra Kai”.
Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

I was really on the fence about getting back to the same character. I had reservations, but the makers [Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald and Hayden Schlossberg] had mapped out a path for this guy. They answered any questions I had such as, “Why was he the way he was? What makes him tick? What has he been doing in the past 30 years? ”That was all part of their explanation and so appealing. Plus, we were all in the joke of a billionaire who left his world then and now to return to the karate world in the San Fernando Valley.

He’s a super smart guy, Terry Silver. And he tried to build a life with all the nice distractions; the music, all the great art in his waterfront home. He tries to keep this inner demon under control – and then Kreese (Martin Kove) comes back and takes it out of him. Then it is all consuming again.

You may hate Terry, but you want to watch him because I believe there is an air of truth in his madness. And I think that’s why people enjoy it on an inner level.

How wild was it all over again to work with Ralph and Martin Kove, no less on a karate kid project?

That first day I went on set, Ralph was standing there, and I hadn’t seen him since Karate Kid III. So we just stood there and smiled at each other. It felt good. And he said they were so grateful it was a gift and we are going to have a ball.

Any little hint of what’s coming in season five?

You will see the next level of Terry Silver. It’s like what the creators say, “What if Terry won the All Valley Karate Tournament in 1989?” So we’re going to explore that – and it’s fascinating.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

Comments are closed.