EXCLUSIVE: ‘Karate Kid’ Ralph Macchio Breaks Silence On Will Smith Remake

We all know a “Karate Kid” remake starring Will Smith’s son Jaden is coming. We all know that some people are unsure that this is a good thing. But still, even as the project has been rendered wobbly with controversy, Ralph Macchio refuses to sweep the leg.

“Listen, here’s my take on it,” the 80’s icon told MTV News on Sunday, making his first-ever public statements addressing the remake of the film that made him famous. “I think Jaden – you know, Will Smith’s kid – the kid’s got chops. He’s young; he’s like eleven…That story will work forever, when well-told. So, it makes sense in that respect.”

Without offering to teach young Smith-san to catch a fly with chopsticks, however, Macchio was eager to offer a bit of teacher-like advice: “From my personal view, the filling the void of what Mr. Miyagi was – and the magic of that character – is going to be the toughest task,” he said of the potential landmines to be tiptoed around by Smith, his producer/dad, writer Chris Murphy and “Pink Panther 2” director Harald Zwart. “I (also) don’t know where the romantic story-arc goes (with Smith’s Daniel) at that age.”

Macchio, in Park City to publicize his Slamdance flick “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead,” added that friends have been sending him the latest news about the Smith remake ever since it was announced.

“(The ’Karate Kid’ remake is) going to be interesting, from the respect that I think if they intend on copying some of the elements that are still present now (it won’t be easy),” Macchio said of the original film’s classic moments. “Reruns of the movie play a lot on television, so the now-generation knows it. It’s not like ’Ocean’s 11′. When they remade that, no one had seen the other one in thirty years.”

Still, as a veteran actor who hopes to direct his first feature film soon, the 47-year-old icon insisted he can’t help but put some thought into how remaking such a beloved film could work – if at all. “If they separate themselves from (the original) but still hold true to the human message behind the movie,” he reasoned. “I think that story could last forever.”

Macchio also shared his thoughts with us on the casting of Jackie Chan, whether he’ll do a cameo, and the vocal outrage of sites like “Defamer” that have been vocal in criticizing the project. Stay tuned, as we’ll be posting those follow-ups soon.

How do you feel about the thoughts of the original Daniel-san? Will there always be one “Karate Kid,” or are you willing to make room for another?