Eli Moskowitz has finally found some balance in his life, as seen in Cobra Kai Season 5.
A couple of weeks ago, Netflix debuted 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 evolution, the challenges he had to overcome during the shooting of Season 5, and more. The interview is full of spoilers, do not keep reading or watching if you aren’t up to date with the full season yet.
“Following 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 setting karate aside to focus on repairing the damage he’s caused, Daniel LaRusso must call on an old friend for help.”
Tudor Leonte: I’m here with the 2019 boys division champion in the 51st Annual Karate Championships, Mr. Jacob Bertrand. Hello, Jacob, how are you today?
Jacob Bertrand: What’s up, man? Good to meet you. I’m doing great. I like that intro. I am the most recent champ, so it’s cool.
You earn it, it was quite a challenge for you and for Eli, of course. We’re recording this interview early in the morning, how has your day started?
That’s been pretty good. I’ve had one other interview so far. Yeah, very excited for today. It’s very nice outside. I went on a little walk right before this.
Well, 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 for a new beginning. Talk us through that new beginning, please.
Yeah. So I think at the start of Season 5… Eli has had a lot of growth throughout all these seasons. He kind of started very lost and then he sort of found himself, but had too much power and it very much corrupted him and he was manipulated into being this kind of like shadow assassin type kid. I think through just like being surrounded that by people who really love him, he’s kind of realized who he is, who he needs to be. After winning the tournament, there’s this sort of pressure and sense of urgency of like, ‘Okay, like I’m gonna be a role model, people are looking up to me, I’m gonna start doing the right thing. I’m walking a new path.’ It’s very much just a reminder for him. We’re like, ‘Hey, you know what? We came 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 a development in the relationship between Hawk and Kenny, especially since you two get to clash on several locations. 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 jumping kick, it’s like the crescent with the push kick and it’s all in midair. That 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 hard. You have to jump so high and get so much momentum just off of like one little half-turn. That was really, really hard, but by the end of it, I feel like I could do it previously. It came out pretty well. That was definitely the hardest one.
Um, I recently interviewed Dallas. I asked him to show me the Silver Bullet punch, but I won’t ask you to show me your special move.
This is where you get hit with the silver bullet punch. [Indicates under his armpit]. That’s what you mean.
Hawk and Kenny had that fight. During that clash, you dropped a fantastic line, ‘It’s time to uncage the Hawk!’ How good was it?
It was awesome. I love getting to have stuff like that. This show is so much fun and it’s so serious, but doesn’t take itself seriously, you know? Stuff like that’s super fun. I mean, unfortunately, uncaging the Hawk wasn’t enough and I still lost, but hopefully, for the world tournament, I can just beat up on some random people from around the world.
Listen, I don’t think I did justice to that line. It looks fantastic. Can you please say it?
It’s time to uncage the Hawk.
You told me that Eli lost that fight, but we can say that it wasn’t a fair fight. The referee was corrupted. Do you expect Hawk to get some retaliation over Kenny in the future?
The point that Hawk’s at in his life, I don’t really think he holds a grudge against Kenny. I think just how in a lot of the scenes Robby saying, ‘I know how Kreese can get in your head and all these things,’ so does Hawk. He went through all that stuff and he’s one of the first people to kind of get out when he did. I don’t really think he holds a grudge against Kenny. I think if there’s an opportunity to kick his, he probably will. But if there’s an opportunity for him to be passive, I think it’s just as likely for him to do that. It really just depends on the weather, honestly. I don’t think it’s really a grudge thing. I think Hawk just likes fighting.
What’s going on with that bully-victim situation? At the beginning of the series, Eli was this bullied boy, but he developed and grew up, but when he got that confidence, he transformed into a bully though. Where is he now? Do you think that he found that balance in his life and in his mindset?
I think he’s definitely taken a big step back like he’s realized his power. He realized the line that he crossed and he’s just kind of like working backwards to try to make everything good. I definitely don’t view him as a bully now. I think he’s overall just trying to uphold whatever in his mind is like the piece. I think he definitely had that arc of bullied-to-bully and now he’s like, ‘Okay, where, where do I fall in, in this?’
You have been working with your fellow Cobra Kai actors for five years. I was curious to know, do you still do anything to build up your chemistry as a group?
I guess so, yeah. Me, Xolo, and Joe, we live together whenever we film. I hang out with Gianni all the time. I’d say like the whole cast. We definitely have like, ‘Oh everyone, let’s go to the park and, well, hang out.’ I feel like you definitely hear your horror stories of like, ‘Oh my God, on this show they hated each other and da, da, da.’ We genuinely don’t have that and I’m very grateful for that ’cause I suck at drama. I’d say everyone’s really tight and everyone’s very genuine, which I appreciate.
Is there anyone in particular with whom you bonded on the set?
A hundred percent. Yeah. Xolo at the very beginning. We were kind of the two young kids on set and yeah, I don’t know, even just from like the first couple times we filmed, we really hit it off. Then, in Season 2, we hung out constantly. Season 3 is like, ‘All right, like you and me let’s live together. We’re adults now, we can do this.’ Yeah, 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.
That’s good to hear. Listen, did you have a saying in Hawk’s look and appearance?
No, not at all. [Laughs]. When I first booked the role, I had no idea that there was a Hawk. I thought I was only Eli and that I found out that I was gonna have a Mohawk. I found out I was gonna have to kiss people and break people’s arms. It was all news to me. I got told in like the span of like a 20-second conversation, ‘What, what do you mean? I need more information than this.’ I usually don’t have a ton of input on like what happens with my hair or stuff like that. The writers, they’re the big brain riders. They know all and have this whole scheme in their head. We kind of follow along.
Were you satisfied with the fact that the Mohawk returning?
Yeah, I think I am. I definitely don’t think Eli needs the Mohawk, but I am happy he’s getting it back. I think he is doing it more out of nostalgia and like, ‘You know what? I like myself with the Mohawk. This is who I am this is why I’m bringing this back.’ I don’t think it’s for any sort of power trip or anything like that.
Are you into combat sports at all?
Filming Cobra Kai, we hang out with stunt guys all the time and coincidentally they’re all very much into UFC. I’ve been following UFC quite a bit. I just started watching One [Championship]. It’s been super. I mean, we even had Tyron Woodley and ‘Wonderboy ‘ Stephen Thompson on this season. I got to train with Tyron quite a bit. He’s a super awesome guy.
If you could be a combat sports fighter in real life, who would you be?
Who would I be?
Gosh, literally anyone. Probably, Israel Adesanya. Adesanya is going down easy. I don’t care if he has eight inches on me. That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter when I’m punching you in the face. Oh yeah, he’s done. Totally, he doesn’t stand a chance against me.
That would be quite a fight. Jacob, before I let you go, what about your future projects? What are you working on, currently?
There’s actually a cool animated show on HBO Max coming out. It’s a DC show called Batwheels. It’s super cool. I play the Batmobile. My name is Bam. It’s a very, very fun show. It looks beautiful. It’s amazing. I’m very excited for that to come out for people to watch it.
Yeah, I watched the trailer. You only voiced that character, but still, you get to kick some asses in Gotham City. I mean, come on.