Actor Xolo Maridueña has the Binge Streamers kickin’ it like Karate Kids. The Cobra Kai series Star shares his approach to acting, musical interests, and the LA-Bron effect in this fun L&R Exclusive.


Ink Tone Swep
Images Tim Schaeffer 
Looks Katz PR 
Lines Joseph Adivari  
Location Cellar Door Studios, Los Angeles, CA

You confidently stepped right into the lead role of Miguel Diaz and nailed it. Was there any anxiety or nervousness being the front man of the reboot for such a storied franchise like The Karate Kid? Without a doubt, there was pressure when it came to being handed the torch from people like Ralph, Hillary, and Jaden. When I took on the role, I knew it was going to be hard to fill their shoes, but thankfully for me, I don’t have to do it alone. Other than Ralph and Billy who are always supporting me twenty-four-seven, Tanner, Jacob, Nichole and all the other Miyagi Do’s and Cobras were the best at welcoming everyone.

The bad boy persona that derives from being Johnny’s second in command is one you do an outstanding job of portraying, you are very believable. As an actor, what do you draw from when pulling off the darker aspects of Miguel? In my experience being in front of the camera, I’ve never really had the opportunity to portray someone with a dark side. Cobra Kai had two scenes, one from the first episode and one from the last episode. I was doing a lot of yelling and being very angry and I realized how fun it was to yell! So being able to have scenes that do have an edge to them, in my opinion, really widen my range as an actor. Because of that, preparing for them really just means focusing on the mood of the scene, not focusing on lines, but the mood and being able to show emotions in your eyes.

What are some story developments you would like to see happen for season two? For instance, I feel like the tension between Miguel and Robby has to boil over at some point. I’m really not too sure if I feel like the tension will boil over. I feel like there’s more to Miguel’s and Robby’s timeline than just having a rivalry with each other. I think with the addition of Sensei Kreese, I’d like to see the dynamic between him and Johnny and how that affects Miguel and Hawk.

After starring in Parenthood and now Cobra Kai, what is the dream role for you? Every star actor seems to have that key project that catapults him to household name status. What’s yours? I’d love to be part of the Marvel franchise. Nova is a Latino character in the Marvel Lore that I feel like I could pull off well. Not to mention the need for representation in big franchises like Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. 

What first peaked your interest in becoming an actor and pursuing a career on screen? Was there a particular movie, character, or novel which compelled you to give it a go? Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I had worked on Parenthood that I really considered acting as a career. Being so young, it just didn’t seem like something I wanted to do for the rest of my life up until that point. After moving on from predominantly working on commercials and print to something like Parenthood, it opened my eyes to the possibilities that acting brings. Being able to work with actors like Mae Whitman and Jason Ritter showed me how real this industry could be. If it weren’t for their gregarious personalities and welcoming manner, I don’t think I would have been as inclined to stay.

So many people around the world try to become actors, but actors are born; can’t really become that. Having said that, give us three core qualities you feel every actor must possess to be a success. Besides the fact that I believe success is very hard to gauge, I feel like being humble, open-minded, and being accountable for your actions are the three biggest things to keep in mind when doing anything. Especially in the entertainment industry. 

Drake dropped his fifth album, Scorpion, and it went platinum the first day. He’s one of the biggest names in music for sure, but who are you listening to right now? Name some of your favorite artists. When it comes to Hip-Hop, I’m really into Chance the Rapper, SOBxRBE, and Mike Sherm. My taste in music is more than hip-hop, I love The Kooks, an English Rock band, Bruno Mars, and Maroon 5.

LeBron’s a Laker, what do you think about this guy moving to your hometown to play for your favorite team? I think that LeBron coming to LA is going to be great for the city. Last year, we didn’t even make it to the playoffs. But this year, with LeBron, and now Rondo as PG, we’re going to have a shot at the Western Conference Finals.

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