It Took 5 Tries For PAT MORITA To Score The Role Of Mr Miyagi
There is not one of us I am sure who doesn’t love the KARATE KID movies ( maybe in my opinion asides from the 2010 one with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan ). And where we all cheered on Daniel San in all the Karate championship battles to see which dojo/karate style was best, our favourite character who was like our TV grandfather would have to be Mr Miyagi, played by the late Pat Morita. But what many of us would be unaware of is that it was not an easy journey for Morita to score the role, but he persevered and won after 5 tests – yes 5!!
The Karate Kid producer the late Jerry Weintraub was actually against Morita going for the role as he couldn’t see him as the perfect fit for the role. He just didn’t want a comedian which was Morita’s background. It was director John Avildsen who pushed for Morita showing Weintraub a tape of Morita reading some lines.
Even though Morita passed away in 2005, his memory lives on and in a video which has been unearthed by Heat Vision, Morita talks about how he had to try quite a number of times ( 5) to prove that he was right for the role.
“He wouldn’t even consider me for a reading,” he said.
“Every time my name came up in the casting process, he was adamant: ‘I don’t want a comic. I don’t want a comedian for this role. This is a heavyweight part. I want an actor.'”
“They bring me in five times,” Morita said. “They want to see if I can do it again. Then they bring Ralphie in. … They want to see if there is chemistry. They make us do it again, this time in costume in front of the studio heads. The fifth time, we were on a cold, blank outline stage — no sets, nothing, but in costume — but they shoot it this time for real.”
“To Jerry’s credit, he gets on the horn and says, ‘Pat, I almost made the worst mistake of my life. I just want to be the first to congratulate you. You got the part of Miyagi.'”
Hard work which paid off. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing my Movie grandpa ( as I grew up watching Karate Kid) asides from Morita. He was so awesome in his role, that he was subsequently nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his role as Mr Miyagi.
Enjoy this video and he will always be in our memories!
Image via The Hollywood Reporter
To read the full article, please click on: Pat Morita Had to Test 5 Times for Mr. Miyagi in ‘The Karate Kid’