‘Cobra Kai’ Star Mary Mouser Takes Us From ‘Signs’ Photo Double to ‘Karate Kid’ Franchise

     August 29, 2020



Mary Mouser has built up quite the resume over the years, but there’s no denying that Cobra Kai is a special one. Not only is the show a phenomenal continuation of the classic Karate Kid film, but it’s also a series that’s amassed quite the fanbase over the course of its two-season run on YouTube. The Cobra Kai fandom is a mighty passionate group and I’ve got a very good feeling that fandom is going to get even bigger courtesy of the shift to Netflix. 

Mouser steps in as Samantha LaRusso, Daniel La Russo’s (Ralph Macchio) daughter. Dad did teach her a thing or two about karate when Samantha was young, but as a teenager, she got a bit distracted by the high school social scene. However, when Sam falls for Johnny Lawrence’s (William Zabka) star student at the revived Cobra Kai, she finds herself being drawn back into the world of competitive karate.

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Image via Netflix

With Cobra Kai Seasons 1 and 2 hitting Netflix on August 28th, Mouser took the time to join us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night to talk about her experience making the show, to give us some Season 3 teases, and also to go way back and detail her journey to scoring the role. In fact, you might be familiar with the movie that started it all for her, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. Mouser began, “I had just turned five and we were going to visit my mom’s friend in Pennsylvania. She had just gotten her son into acting and they were doing an open casting call there for a five-year-old girl.”

Mouser went and booked the gig which happened to be serving as Abigail Breslin’s photo double in the movie. While she was very young at the time and didn’t fully process what it meant to be a photo double, the love of being on set was there. Here’s how Mouser described it:

“Abby did all the talking and all the face stuff, and then everything other than that was me being legs or back of the head or just an arm, or anything like that was me. I had no idea what it was. They hit record on the camera and I did the thing. Sometimes I would even say the lines because she would already be wrapped for the day. I had no idea what a photo double was, but I was totally fine with it. I don’t think I knew enough yet to care whether or not I was even on the camera, whether or not anybody was even going to see what I was doing. To me, it was a giant version of playing house, and everybody played their role!”

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Image via Buena Vista Pictures

If you’d like to revisit Signs and try to spot Mouser, we’ve got two moments for you to look out for. In fact, one’s an especially memorable shot in the film; “Near the end there’s a flashlight that rolls into frame and it’s just Bo’s feet, and that’s my feet and my hand that picks up the flashlight.” So that’s a big one right there, but there’s also a shot where you can catch a quick glimpse of Mouser’s face in the movie. Here’s what happened:

“The one time I almost messed up real bad was, we’re coming out of the cornfield and I was on Joaquin Phoenix’s hip, like he was holding me, and my face was supposed to be buried backwards over his shoulder so you wouldn’t see me. It was a dead silent scene. There were no lines and we were just supposed to slowly walk into the scene and they were looking around at all the cornfields and everything. And so, me being an impatient five-year-old, I didn’t know when the take was over because I didn’t hear cut, but I didn’t know so I got bored just looking back at nothingness, so I tried to turn my head around to look and see what we were doing, and Joaquin Phoenix grabbed my head and just shoves it back into his shoulder so that I didn’t ruin the take!”

If you’d like to see that scene for yourself, we’ve got the clip for you in Mouser’s full episode of Collider Ladies Night at the top of this article! She also spoke about the importance of the actor-manage relationship, learning American Sign Language, how Hamilton changed her tune on performing on stage, what it’s like working with the Cobra Kai ensemble and if she thinks it’s possible to forgive Robby (Tanner Buchanan) for what he does at the end of Season 2. You can hear about all of that and more in the video edition of Collider Ladies Night up top, or, if you prefer, we’ve also got the podcast version for you below:


Mary Mouser:

  • 00:00 – A very important discussion about cutting bangs.
  • 02:40 – Scoring her very first gig as a photo double in the movie Signs.
  • 04:25 – What it means to be a photo double on the set of a movie.
  • 05:49 – You can actually see Mouser in Signs!
  • 07:15 – The first steps towards making acting a real deal career.
  • 09:12 – The importance of the actor-manager relationship.
  • 11:11 – The advice Mouser got from her manager when she was concerned about what was happening to the industry due to the pandemic.
  • 14:20 – Mouser talks about her love of school; learning American Sign Language.
  • 17:25 – Mouser once thought she was closed off to performing on stage, but then she saw Hamilton.
  • 20:33 – Mouser talks about changing her credited name from Mary Matilyn Mouser to Mary Mouser.
  • 23:35 – Why her episode of CSI was a game changing experience.
  • 25:43 – How much did Mouser know about her Cobra Kai role when she went into her first audition; reading with Ralph Macchio for the first time.
  • 29:22 – Does Tanner Buchanan really eat as much on set as he does in these videos?

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    Image via Netflix

  • 30:30 – Will Mouser start making content for her YouTube channel again soon?
  • 31:50 – Mouser answers rapid fire questions about the Cobra Kai ensemble.
  • 35:11 – What it’s like working with a directing duo like Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
  • 36:40 – Mouser poses a question to William Zabka about his experience making Cobra Kai.
  • 37:54 – Can Robby be forgiven for what he does at the end of Cobra Kai Season 2?
  • 40:29 – Rapid fire questions begin! Find out if Mouser collects anything, if she’d consider getting a movie-related tattoo, the last show she binge watched, her biggest fear overcome, and the film franchise she’d most like to join.

Television