The words ‘Cobra Kai’ should ring a bell to anyone who remembers the classic 80s film, The Karate Kid. Well, now there’s a show called Cobra Kai on YouTube Red that’s brought the The Karate Kid story back to life. This new series takes place 34 years after the original film, and one of the most important new additions to the cast is Courtney Henggeler, who takes on the role of Amanda, Daniel LaRusso’s wife. We chatted with her about the experience working on the show.
Cliché: What was your experience like working on Cobra Kai? What was your favorite part?
Courtney Henggeler: It was just awesome. It was an incredible group of people to be surrounded by. There was not one person on that set that I wouldn’t want to have a slumber party and eat raw cookie dough with. My favorite part was filming the All Valley tournament. For my role, I mostly filmed with Ralph, Mary, Griffin and occasionally Tanner. I never really got the chance to see what the other side of the show was working on. Getting to see all the stunts and how brilliant Xolo and Billy was so exciting.
Can you tell me about your character, Amanda, and how she fits in to Cobra Kai?
She’s the consummate voice of reason. She watches her husband get swept back into this old rivalry and although at times she finds it amusing she’s also like, “Um, Hi! Are you really going to fight your high-school bully right now because you’re both 50 (years old) and this is getting weird.”
What kind of response have you seen to the show?
I don’t think I was prepared for the kind of response the show is getting. Of course I thought our show was fantastic, but you never know how other people will receive it. I was blown away by everyone’s reaction. People love this show! Critics, fans, people who weren’t even fans of the original…all seem to really connect with what we created.
Why do you think people should watch it if they haven’t already?
Billy Zabka! He will make you fall in love with Johnny Lawrence. Even if you don’t want to.
What have been some other experiences in your career that you really enjoyed?
I always love filming on location. It’s a different work atmosphere when everyone is out of their element. It’s a bonding experience. It’s like being at camp. My first job ever was in a movie that paid me 100 dollars a day to be tied to a tree in upstate New York. Sounds a little dodgy, but I was with a cool group of young actors all in this location and I thought it was a blast!
How did you get involved in acting?
My mom gave me my first acting role as “orange tree #2” in her first grade production. Word on the street…I was a very believable tree. A star was born!
How do you feeling acting has changed your life and what does acting mean to you?
I think acting has shown me so many other creative outlets that I needed to explore. When I was young, it was acting or nothing. I just had my eye on that prize and that prize only. But over time, being on sets, being out of work, it all has moved me into other directions. When I was pregnant with my son, I couldn’t audition much. But I couldn’t just sit around eating my weight in Hershey’s Kisses (although that was very appealing) so I began writing again. All of a sudden I found myself pitching a series to NBC. I found the creative process of writing a show so much more fulfilling than the grind of auditioning. I love to act, don’t get me wrong, but with writing I have the creative freedom to make my own universe. A world where I can express whatever I find amusing or ridiculous or terrible. I love that freedom. And if you’re an actor, it can start to feel like you’re a hired gun. You’re hired as a guest-star for a week, and you’re expected to do what is written and fit into the show seamlessly. You’re beyond excited to work. You feel blessed to be on a set with bright, creative minds, but you don’t necessarily feel like you’re stretching your muscles and reaching your potential. So I guess acting has changed my life by showing me that it’s the creativity I crave. It doesn’t necessarily have to come this singular dream.
What’s your advice to your fans who wish to follow the same path in becoming an actor/actress like you?
I always think getting into a good class with actors who are way better than you is top of the list. If you’re the best one in the class, find a new class. There’s never a diploma for acting. You’re always learning, always growing and getting better. You need a space where you can do that, and if you’re at the top you might be inspiring others but who’s inspiring and challenging you? Also, if you’re in LA pursuing acting, get a car that you love. I don’t care what kind of car. But you will be spending what feels like your entire life in that car. Make it a good one.
Do you have any other big projects coming up next?
Season 2 of Cobra Kai!
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Courtney Henggeler Discusses the First Season of “Cobra Kai” and More. Image Credits: Rowan Daly