Eli Moskowitz has finally found some balance in his life, as it shows Cobra Kai Season 5.
A few weeks ago, Netflix launched the latest season of Cobra Kai, featuring the return of the fan-favorite “Hawk” character portrayed by Jacob Bertrand. ComingSoon spoke with Bertrand about Eli’s development, the challenges he had to overcome during the filming of season 5 and more. The interview is full of spoilers, do not read or watch if you are not up to date with the entire season yet.
“After the shocking results of the All Valley Tournament, Season 5 finds Terry Silver expanding the Cobra Kai empire and trying to make his ‘No Mercy’ style of karate the only game in town,” reads the synopsis. “With Kreese behind bars and Johnny Lawrence putting karate aside to focus on repairing the damage he’s caused, Daniel LaRusso must call on an old friend for help.”
Tudor Leonte: I am here with the 2019 Boys Division Champion of the 51st Annual Karate Championships, Mr. Jacob Bertrand. Hi Jacob, how are you today?
Jacob Bertrand: What happens? Good to meet you. I feel good. I like that intro. I’m the latest champion so that’s cool.
You deserve it, it was quite a challenge for you and for Eli, of course. We are recording this interview early in the morning, how did your day start?
It’s been pretty good. I have had one other interview so far. Yes, very excited about today. It is very nice outside. I went for a little walk just before this.
Oh, that sounds good. Let’s talk a little bit about your character, Eli, better known as Hawk in Cobra Kai. At the beginning of season 5, Eli gets a lotus flower tattoo, a symbol of a new beginning. Tell us the new beginning, please.
Yes. So I think at the beginning of season 5… Eli has had a lot of growth through all these seasons. He kind of started off very lost and then he found himself but had too much power and it corrupted him a lot and he was manipulated into being this kind of shadow assassin. I think through, like being surrounded by people who really love him, that he’s kind of realized who he is, who he’s supposed to be. After winning the tournament, there’s that kind of pressure and a sense of urgency like, ‘Okay, like I want to be a role model, people look up to me, I want to start doing the right thing. I’m going a new way.’ It is very much just a reminder to him. We say, ‘Hey, you know what? We got from point a, but we’re still trying to get to point B, and you’re kind of a new person at this point.’
Season 5 also sees an evolution in the relationship between Hawk and Kenny, especially as the two of you come to clash in several places. Before we go into details about that relationship, what was the most challenging fight to shoot?
Definitely the last fight with Kenny. I do this big jump kick, it’s like the half moon with the push kick and it’s all in the air. It was really, really hard for me to get down. I don’t even think I could do it right now if I stretched out and like the conditions were perfect. It was just difficult. You have to jump so high and get so much momentum right out of a little half lap. It was really, really hard, but by the end of it, I feel like I could do it earlier. It came out pretty good. It was definitely the hardest.
Um, I recently interviewed Dallas. I asked him to show me the Silver Bullet move, but I won’t ask you to show me your special move.
This is where you get hit with the silver bullet. [Indicates under his armpit]. That’s what you mean.
Hawk and Kenny had that match. During that clash, you dropped a great line, “It’s time to unleash the Hawk!” How good was it?
It was great. I love getting stuff like that. This show is so funny and it’s so serious, but it doesn’t take itself seriously, you know? That kind of thing is super fun. I mean unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop Hawk and I still lost, but hopefully at the world tournament I can just beat some random people from all over the world.
Look, I don’t think I did that line justice. It looks fantastic. Can you please say that?
It’s time to unleash the Hawk.
You told me Eli lost that fight, but we can say it wasn’t a fair fight. The judge was corrupt. Do you expect Hawk to get some revenge on Kenny in the future?
At the point that Hawk is at in his life, I don’t really think he holds a grudge against Kenny. I think how in a lot of the scenes Robby says, ‘I know how Kreese can get into your head and all that stuff,’ so does Hawk. He went through all that, and he’s one of the first people to come out when he did. I don’t really think he holds a grudge against Kenny. I think if there is an opportunity to fire him, he probably will. But if there’s an opportunity for him to be passive, I think he’s just as likely to do it. It really just depends on the weather, honestly. I don’t really think it’s a grudge. I think Hawk likes to fight.
What’s going on with the bully-victim situation? At the beginning of the series, Eli was this bullied kid, but he developed and grew up, but when he gained that confidence, he turned into a bully. Where is he now? Do you think he found that balance in his life and in his thinking?
I definitely think he’s taken a big step back, like he’s realized his power. He realized the line he crossed and he’s like working backwards to try to make everything right. I certainly don’t see him as a bully now. I think overall he’s just trying to maintain what in his mind is like the piece. I definitely think he had that arc of bully-to-bully, and now he’s like, ‘Okay, where, where do I fall into this?’
You’ve been working with your fellow Cobra Kai actors for five years. I was curious to know if you guys still do anything to build your chemistry as a group?
I think so, yes. Me, Xolo and Joe, we live together when we film. I hang out with Gianni all the time. I would say like the whole cast. We’re definitely like, “Oh everyone, let’s go to the park and, well, hang out.” I feel like you’re definitely hearing your horror stories of, “Oh my God, on this show they hated each other and da, da, da.” We really don’t have that, and I’m very grateful for that, because I’m really into drama. I will say that everyone is really tight and everyone is very genuine, which I appreciate.
Is there anyone in particular you bonded with on set?
One hundred percent. Yes. Xolo at the very beginning. We were kind of the two young kids on set, and yeah, I don’t know, even from the first few times we shot, we really hit it off. Then, in season 2, we hung out constantly. Season 3 is like, ‘Okay, let’s live together like you and me. We’re adults now, we can do this.’ Yes, season 3, 4, 5, we lived together. It’s been great, he’s like a brother to me now. We have a podcast together called ‘Lone Lobos.’ It’s super fun, I love that kid.
It is good to hear. Look, did you have an influence on Hawk’s look and feel?
No not at all. [Laughs]. When I first booked the role, I had no idea there was a hawk. I thought I was just Eli and that I found out I needed a Mohawk. I found myself kissing people and breaking people’s arms. It was all news to me. I was told in a 20-second conversation, ‘What, what do you mean? I need more information than this.’ I don’t usually have a ton of input into things like what’s going on with my hair or anything like that. The writers, they are the big brain riders. They know everything and have this whole scheme in their heads. We follow along a bit.
Were you happy with Mohawk returning?
Yes, I think I am. I definitely don’t think Eli needs the Mohawk, but I’m glad he’s getting it back. I think he does it more out of nostalgia and like, ‘you know what? I like myself with the Mohawk. It’s who I am, that’s why I’m bringing it back.’ I don’t think it’s for any kind of power trip or anything like that.
Are you even into martial arts?
Recordings Cobra Kai, we hang out with stunt guys all the time, and they all happen to be very into the UFC. I have followed the UFC quite a bit. I just started watching One [Championship]. It’s been fantastic. I mean, we even had Tyron Woodley and ‘Wonderboy’ Stephen Thompson this season. I got to train quite a bit with Tyron. He’s a super cool guy.
If you could be a martial arts fighter in real life, who would you be?
Who would I be?
Gosh, literally anyone. Probably Israel Adesanya. Adesanya goes down easily. I don’t care if he has 8 inches on me. It does not mean anything. It doesn’t matter when I punch you in the face. Oh yeah, he’s done. Hell, he doesn’t stand a chance against me.
It would be quite a battle. Jacob, before I let you go, what about your future projects? What are you working on right now?
There’s actually a cool animated show on HBO Max coming up. It’s a DC show called Batwheels. It’s super cool. I play Batmobile. My name is Bam. It’s a very, very funny show. It looks beautiful. It is fantastic. I’m very excited for it to come out for people to see.
Yes, I saw the trailer. You’ve only voiced that character, yet you’re going to kick some ass in Gotham City. I mean, come on.