‘Karate Kid III’ Almost Cast Brandon Lee As Mike Barnes, Sean Kanan Reveals


Before there was Cobra Kaithere were four Karate Kid movies. The show is about to include all Karate Kid movie star but Karate Kid Part III fans are still waiting for Sean Kanan’s return as “karate’s bad boy” Mike Barnes. Kanan reveals that the role almost went to the late Brandon Lee due to an injury Kanan suffered on set.

Sean Kanan | David Livingston/Getty Images

Kanan was the guest of Cobra Kai the podcast of the star Martin Kove, Hitting with the Koves. catch up Karate Kid III co-star, Kanan revealed how he was almost replaced by the legend. Cobra Kai Season 5 returns September 9 on Netflix.

Brandon Lee Almost Played Mike Barnes Instead of Sean Kanan in ‘Karate Kid III’

Mike Barnes was Daniel LaRusso’s (Ralph Macchio) new challenger in The Karate Kid Part III. Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) was in league with Barnes to train Daniel and sabotage his performance in the tournament. According to a people magazine article from 1989, Kanan suffered internal bleeding following a stunt in which he landed on his stomach. Kanan says he heard that Lee will replace him.

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“If I’m being really honest, which I try to be, I was hurt really badly when I was on film,” Kanan said on Hitting with the Koves. “I almost lost my life. I can say that now because most people are dead. It was a long time ago, but I wasn’t treated very well when it happened. There were no flowers. There was no cured kid. It was back on set in 10-12 days or we’re going to cast the part. Ironically, they were probably going to cast Brandon Lee based on what they told me.

‘The Karate Kid Part III’ would have been Brandon Lee’s big break

Lee started acting in the 80s with a role in the revival of David Carradine Kung Fu and Hong Kong film laser mission. It would not appear in US theatrical releases until 1991. Showdown in Little Tokyo and 1992 rapid firebefore his fatal accident on the set The crow in 1993. 1989 was the same year Lee starred in laser missionbut Kanan recovered.

“So after surviving almost bleeding to death, Christmas Day 1989 in Las Vegas, having this emergency surgery and having and still having a 14 inch scar across my abdomen and being treated this way, I very quickly passed from oh woe to me for being really angry,” Kanan said. “I was pissed off and I was mad at the way I was treated, but I was also mad that life did this to me. “Of course, life didn’t do that to me. Life was just doing what life does. That anger got me out of the hospital.”

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Kanan trained to be able to act in the film.

“I asked them to release me against medical advice, to start training while I still had staples in my stomach,” Kanan said. “I lost about 30 pounds in probably 8 days. I ended up doing all my stunts in The Karate Kid III except for one which was a driving stunt where the bad guys cross train tracks. ‘Cause I was like look, there’s no way I’m coming back from all of this to get run over by a train.

The film changed Sean Kanan’s view of Hollywood

The Karate Kid Part III was a big break for Kanan. It was his second film, but after that he worked steadily for decades, including a long series on general hospital. He was never the same after that movie.

“I think once I came back from that experience, I had a different perception,” Kanan said. “It was a bit of show business, not show friends. I wasn’t embittered but I grew up a bit. Also, when you’re 21, you feel immortal. And I learned in that experience that my mortality was very questioned, so I think that matured me a lot. I think ultimately that’s what helped me play the rest of the movie.

RELATED: ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4: Actor Terry Silver Thomas Ian Griffith Shares Emotional Memories of Pat Morita From ‘The Karate Kid Part III’

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