Pat Morita portrayed an iconic character when he became Mr. Miyagi for 1984's The Karate Kid. He became a Hollywood legend and remains so after his death in 2005, but this role was only part of his story. Now filmmaker Kevin Derek will talk about Morita's entire life in the documentary, More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the upcoming film will hit streaming services, such as iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, on Feb. 5. The documentary will feature archive footage of Morita, showing him at different stages of his life. For example, Derek will explore the actor's childhood battle with spinal tuberculosis, as well as his time working as a stand-up comedian. More Than Miyagi will also address his later struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.
Ralph Macchio, Henry Winkler, Martin Kove, and more talk about the legend of Pat Morita. Watch the official trailer for 'More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story.' pic.twitter.com/2D3ZJYvgfo— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) January 13, 2021
The trailer released on social media provides a brief glimpse into the story of Morita's life and career. Several prominent actors — including Ralph Macchio, William Zabka and Tommy Chong — all sit down and discuss the late Japanese-American actor and what he meant to the industry. The trailer also talks about how Morita opened for comedian Red Foxx, which led to an appearance on Sanford and Son.
"He was just a lovely, lovely man," actor Henry Winkler says in the trailer. "And he created one of the iconic characters in American cinema." Some of the other personalities interviewed for the film then explained how Morita had a lot of "inner demons" and that he walked out of a cast and "right into a war."
With Cobra Kai reigniting The Karate Kid fandom, there will likely be many fans of the film series sitting down to watch More Than Miyagi. Many will want to know if the documentary will discuss why Morita nearly didn't get the iconic role as Daniel LaRusso's sensei. Macchio previously provided some context about this situation during an interview with Vanity Fair, but the documentary could tell a more in-depth story.
"Who was going to play Mr. Miyagi? They were talking about Toshiro Mifune, the great Japanese actor who didn’t speak any English, so that would have been a challenge," Macchio explained, as reported by Cinema Blend. "But all the sudden Arnold from Happy Days shows up on video tape from Pat Morita and the studio did not want him. The producer did not want him. I was like, ‘Arnold, from Happy Days?’ But John Avildsen was like, ‘I’ve read him and I’ve read you and I’m putting you guys in a room together."
Morita landed the role in The Karate Kid and became a household name. People still view Mr. Miyagi as one of the greatest characters in cinema history, and they express appreciation for the actor who portrayed him. Starting on Feb. 5, these fans can learn more about Morita's life.