Actor Ralph Macchio has made a long career of playing the underdog and the good guy. After starting on TV's Eight Is Enough, he went on to tackle bullies in the Karate Kid films. Other movies like The Outsiders and My Cousin Vinny were big successes. He played Eric Stoltz's best friend in Naked in New York and the Psycho screenwriter in Hitchock.
He took dance lessons starting at the age of 3, which eventually led to Dancing with the Stars. More television roles included How I Met Your Mother, Entourage and Head Case.
Broadway called his name for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and off-Broadway with A Room of My Own.
Macchio talked with Windy City Times at a recent Wizard World's comic convention appearance.
Windy City Times: Did you ever think Karate Kid would have this much longevity?
Ralph Macchio: No. The director didn't even think it would last. We all talk about that. We didn't have a clue. I knew we had a good script and story. Pat and I knew we felt something natural and special but, 32 years later, people still recite lines from the scenes.
WCT: People are still inspired today by those movies?
RM: Kids come up and talk about it now. That is the joy of doing this kind of stuff. There is a lot of give back.
WCT: What was your favorite moment from Dancing with the Stars?
RM: The opening day was the best. Coming down the stairs and doing my first number before the judges got to speak was awesome.
WCT: Were you nervous?
RM: Shit, yeah! It was insane. That first time you go out there no one can imagine what they will see. It is a level playing field.
It is hard to describe afterwards. It is like one day you are walking down the street and the next you are running for president. Everywhere you turn people are beeping their horns and waving. It was an awesome experience.
WCT: After speaking with Vanessa Williams recently, she mentioned the Ugly Betty cast might be getting back together. Have you heard that?
RM: Vanessa's great. They are trying to. Listen: I had a small recurring role, but I really enjoyed being a part of it. That show was fantastic. I miss it. I miss how beautifully done it was with all of the characters. They are trying to get a movie together. It is very hard to do. I hope they do. Betty la fea, man!
WCT: Yes, the Spanish version of the show.
RM: That is where it came from.
WCT: Who was a better kisser: Eric Stoltz or Ana Ortiz?
RM: Wowgood one. Because I play on that team, I am going with Ana Ortiz, but I respect Eric. During rehearsals of the two of us, he was the more trepidatious. I felt so heterosexually right that I thought, "Why not experiment?"
WCT: How was it working with Mario Cantone in A Room of My Own?
RM: Mario is the greatest. We are going to do it again. They are trying to raise the funds for us to come back. They want more of a commercial run, maybe moving it from Off-Broadway to on Broadway. Hopefully developing it into a TV series in the future.
WCT: Do you want to do more musicals?
RM: I would love to. It is a grind. My voice only goes so far. It would have to be very specific.
WCT: You have a new movie coming out?
RM: I have two. One is called Lost Cat Corona. That is in the can, but I don't know what the distribution is. Another one is called A Dog and Pony Show.
I am also working on a television show called The Deuce for HBO. It is with James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It is [with] David Simon, who did The Wire. We are still shooting it. I go back to New York to finish that after this.
WCT: Sounds like you are in a good place.
RM: I'm trying. I keep scratching and clawing!