You had to have been taken aback with the lines of your dialogue in Episode 3. Mike is talking about one thing, but Daniel’s thinking he’s talking about something else.
[Mike was actually referring to a piece of furniture, not Daniel, saying], “I told you to get rid of that Italian piece of s***” in front of a beautiful wife. [laughs]
Yes. It’s so incredibly clever. You meet Chozen right after that. It’s extremely clever storytelling. You had to have been thinking, “Man, this is the introduction of my character? This is awesome stuff!”
It was great. It was so much fun. The thing I really liked is that I had the chance to apologize to Daniel, and it was certainly a long time coming and deserved — and I liked the fact that it wasn’t just a redemption arc. Yes, the guy apologized, and Mike probably would’ve continued on as a happy furniture salesman, married and living his life making furniture, but once Terry Silver burned his life down, he was able to revert to what he knew best, and it was the return to the bad boy.
In Episode 10, if you think about it, what a monumental moment. You have all three of Daniel’s antagonists from the three movies together. You have Mike, Johnny, Chozen …
Yeah, as allies.
[They’re] plotting with Daniel, although he’s reluctant to go ahead with it from his standpoint. But Mike, Johnny, and Chozen want to bring the pain to Terry Silver. Did you sit back during that moment of shooting that scene to reflect how cool and surreal that whole setup was?
Ralph [Macchio] and I were on set together, and he at one point said to me, “Can you believe this?” That’s one of the things I love about Ralph. Nobody deserves this success more than he and Billy [Zabka] because they’re terrific guys. They’ve both been around the block in Hollywood for a very long time, and he still is like, “Wow, isn’t this amazing? Isn’t this great?” Keeping that sense of humility and that sense of gratitude is a lot of what makes those two such great guys … It couldn’t have happened to nicer guys, and Ralph and I were both like, “Can you believe this? This is 30 some years later and here we are.”
One of the greatest things about this experience for me outside of the production on a humanistic level was the opportunity to get to know Ralph again as a man. [I got to play Mike] as a 55-year-old guy, as opposed to this brash 22-year-old kid thrown into this situation that was “sink or swim” as his nemesis, where we were very much kept apart. They did not do a lot to foster a friendship between us, but wisely so. Now, we have the chance to spend some time together, and that was really nice.