Cobra Kai star, Jacob Bertrand, reveals he was very against Hawk switching to the good side on the show, as he greatly enjoyed playing the villain.
Cobra Kai star, Jacob Bertrand, has revealed that he was originally against his character, Hawk, switching to the good side. Cobra Kai is a Netflix original series and a spin-off of the Karate Kid franchise. The series takes place 34 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament and follows the fallout that arises from Cobra Kai being re-opened by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Cobra Kai season 4 premiered on Netflix on December 31, 2021 and quickly climbed Netflix’s viewership charts while receiving positive reception from critics.
Cobra Kai‘s latest season sees the Cobra Kai dojo, now headed by John Kreese (Martin Cove) and Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffin), pitted against Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Lawrence’s joint dojos – Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang. Season 4 also further explores Bertrand’s Eli Moskowitz (a.k.a Hawk) and his road to redemption. Hawk started out as an unpopular boy, viciously bullied for his cleft lip scar. Joining Cobra Kai helps him fend off his bullies, but also fosters his anger, insecurity, and desire to be popular, resulting in him becoming a bully. At the end of season 3, though, Hawk switches to the good side to defend his friend against the rest of the dojo. However, not everyone was on board with Hawk’s sudden change of heart.
In an interview with THR, Bertrand admitted that he was very against Hawk switching to the good side in Cobra Kai. The reason for this was that Bertrand really enjoyed the exhilaration of playing a villain. He was eager to up the ante and go all out for Hawk’s villainy and, thus, protested when he was told Hawk would become a good guy. However, he did get a kick out of the fact that his fans hated Hawk for being such a bully, but now rejoice at the character’s change of heart. Check out his statement below:
The villain is way more fun. Playing evil Hawk was the best! I know he was a total dick and a bully to people — but I would break Demetri’s [Gianni DeCenzo’s] arm 10 times over. (Laughs.) But seriously, playing the villain is more fun because it is more out there. When I auditioned for the series, there was no Hawk. There was only Eli when I read the script. It was a challenge for me to wrap my head around doing two completely different characters — but it is the same person who has a little of both inside them. They [the fans] are so excited and super energetic! I will say that when season three came out, a lot of people came up to me, with a smile, and said, “You suck. I hate you. You are so evil.” And I would be like, “I know it is rough right now, but I swear I get better!” When I heard I was going over to the good side, I was like, “What? No. I want to be a villain. I want to double down and murder somebody.” (Laughs.) And they were like, “No, no, no. This is going to turn out really good.” And then Hawk went to the good side and everyone was like, “Yay! This is the best thing since sliced bread!”
While Bertrand was originally against the change, the creators assured him that much good would come from it. True to their word, a large focal point of Cobra Kai season 4 is on Hawk’s change of heart. The further exploration was quite necessary as Hawk literally changed from villain to good guy in the heat of a moment to defend Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo). While the two rekindle their friendship, Hawk still has to deal with the weight of his past. On the one hand, Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang remind him disdainfully of all the hurt he caused them, while on the other hand Cobra Kai seeks revenge for him being a “Judas” and betraying them. However, Hawk’s trials as a good guy pay off and result in him becoming one of Miyagi-Do’s last hopes at the All Valley Karate Tournament.
Bertrand’s initial protest of Hawk’s change of heart is quite understandable, as few get the chance to play a villain in their lifetime. Yet, the change was quite crucial as much of Cobra Kai focuses on redemption for the bad guys. The series follows a consistent pattern where those who are hurt and angry seek out Cobra Kai for its “Strike First” and “No Mercy” policies. However, many of them, from Lawrence to LaRusso to Hawk to Robbie, recognize that the satisfaction of revenge is only fleeting and that anger only begets more anger. Despite Bertrand’s protest, Hawks transformation in Cobra Kai turned out to be a success among viewers, as well as a touching reminder of the power of redemption.
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