Jahnel Curfman interview: ‘Cobra Kai’ stunt coordinator

“To be nominated in the first ever stunt performance category for the Emmys,” says “Cobra Kai” stunt coordinator and performer Jahnel Curfman, “is definitely an honor!” “It is one of those things that some people have been striving for years with the Oscars,” she explains. “We have yet to be recognized by the Academy when it comes to film, so for the Emmys to do it with our performance on television, hopefully sends a message.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Curfman above.

SEE ‘Cobra Kai’ Emmy interviews: Watch our 4 in-depth chats with Ralph Macchio, William Zabka and more

Netflix blockbuster “Cobra Kai” revisits old rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) from the original 1984 Oscar-nominated classic “The Karate Kid.” The show picks up over 30 years after that iconic cinematic moment from the original film in which underdog LaRusso defeated bully Lawrence at the 1984 All Valley Under-18 Karate Championships Tournament.

The show’s third season culminated in the action-packed season finale “December 19,” in which the old feud between LaRusso and Lawrence is settled as they join forces to take on common enemy Kreese (Martin Kove). It was the sprawling fight sequence in that episode involving most of the series’ primary cast that was submitted for Emmy consideration. Unsurprisingly, Emmy voters responded to it by ultimately nominating Curfman and her colleagues Julia Maggio, John Cihangir and Marc Canonizado for Best Stunt Performance, the first time that category has appeared at the Emmys. This is Curfman’s second Emmy nomination to date, having served as stunt coordinator for the show’s first three seasons alongside husband Hiro Koda, with whom she was nominated in 2019 for Best Stunt Coordination.

SEE 2021 Emmy nominations complete list: All the nominees for the 73rd Emmy Awards

Curfman is proud of how seamless the complicated fight sequence comes across onscreen, tipping her hat to the show’s main cast in particular for the effort they put in to work with the show’s expert stunt performers. “There’s so much energy with the cast and our stunt team on this show,” she says. “When we pull that stuff off, it feels extra like we’ve accomplished something really wonderful because we’re all very celebratory.”

“We’re really blessed with ‘Cobra Kai’ because we get the cast three weeks before we start filming and we get to pick up their training where they left off from the season before, so we’re training them in martial arts, but we’re also incorporating into their training some gymnastics. We’re teaching them how to flip and we also teach them how to take a punch so they can take those reactions, how to do certain falls,” she explains. “They’re so capable and they’re so motivated to learn and everybody just gets in there and puts in 110%.”

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UPLOADED Aug 9, 2021 1:54 pm