RALPH MACCHIO is excited that younger fans of this fall’s breakout hit Cobra Kai are discovering The Karate Kid, and all things ’80s, for the first time. “I hear a lot that the kids love the soundtrack,” he says. The one thing he doesn’t miss from the decade, however? The clothes. “When I look at Daniel LaRusso in 1984, in those camouflage pants and the plaid shirt, it’s just like, were we trying to do this?” He laughs.
These days, the 59-year-old is all about classic looks, as in suits—by Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss—that never go out of style (unlike mullets, acid-washed jeans, and Miami Vice–style suit jackets). “I’m almost the same age as George Clooney, and I think that’s a pretty good trajectory,” he says. “The class, that whole guy-next-door thing—who wouldn’t want to be George Clooney?”
Most of the time, though, Macchio prefers comfort over all else. “Athleisure is my day-to-day, especially right now,” he says. “I think I’ve bought one button-down in the last six months. I live in sneakers and running shoes—I like to feel like I’m walking on a pillow. I’m too old to be uncomfortable all day long!”
With Cobra Kai returning to Netflix for its third season in January, Macchio will once again be throwing on his karate gi, reprising a role he has become especially comfortable in over the past four decades. “We’re going back to him having to dust off what he’s learned and continue to grow. . . . That’s very refreshing to play. ”