Santo Pietro Griffin has come a long way in the Netflix series cobra kai playing Anthony LaRusso, the youngest of leading man Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). Like her mother Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) and unlike her sister Samantha (Mary Mouser), Anthony never bought into martial arts the way his father embraced it, training a new generation of young people in the Netflix series. Anthony preferred to cut corners rather than work hard, much to Daniel’s dismay, but when he entered high school, his behavior finally caught up with him as his victim Kenny (dallas dupree young) would switch things up to become his goon after joining Cobra Kai. Santopietro spoke with Bleeding Cool about Anthony’s growth in seasons four and five and how he approached the role of him improved on him in the series.
Bleeding Cool: How has the current season of Cobra Kai been received?
santopietro: It’s been pretty amazing. I got to see a big reception for the first time with season four, seeing how people react to Anthony’s change. Also, to see much more fan reception every year, it gets bigger and bigger.
You are one of the last young members of the main cast whose character has embraced martial arts culture since the series began. Has he accepted it personally from the beginning, or was it something he became involved with over time, even when it didn’t require him to be personally involved?
I always wanted to. After season four, when I got beat up in the locker room, that’s when I got the message that I was going to start being a part of this world of martial arts. The summer after season four, I started boxing, which is something I’ve continued to this day and something I really enjoy. That helped familiarize me going into season five. With the ending, we were moving fast, we didn’t have time to teach me everything.
Regarding the chemistry with Ralph, Mary and Courtney [Henggeler]can you break down the dynamic you had on set and how it evolved throughout the series?
We all grew up to be this family. I remember the first season when they were the first people I worked with. The first thing I did was take fake family photos with them at the country club. Growing up with them and having them be a super formative part of my experience from 11 to 16… I was very lucky to have that, and I’m very happy to be able to maintain that relationship with them.
How much are you like Anthony in real life?
We’re both pretty nerdy. I’m a great video gamer and Dungeons and Dragons boy, so we share that look. I like to think we’re both compassionate. He seems to care about people and doesn’t want to hurt anyone. We are at different points in our life. He is just starting high school and I am close to finishing. At the beginning of high school, I probably cared too much about what other people thought of me compared to what I thought of myself. In those aspects, we have many similarities.
Anthony is unique in his position compared to everyone else who has a stalker. He is dealing with his bullying behavior caused by peer pressure from him. Since then, things have changed and Kenny has become Anthony’s bully. How have people responded? Has anyone told you their personal stories of being in similar situations?
The idea of being in high school and wanting to impress the people you hang out with is something everyone can relate to and it’s not always something that ends as terribly as it did for Anthony. I’ve mostly talked to people in my personal life. I haven’t had a chance to talk to enough fans about it, but they can all relate to the idea of wanting to fit in instead of being who you are, not wanting to stand out, doing what everyone else is doing so you can fly under the radar.
fifth season of cobra kai is available to stream on Netflix.