Ali Mills (character)
|Ali Mills (Schwarber)|
|The Karate Kid character|
|First appearance||The Karate Kid|
|Created by||Robert Mark Kamen|
|Portrayed by||Elisabeth Shue|
|Family||Mr. and Mrs. Mills (parents)|
|Spouse||Dr. Gregory Schwarber|
Ali Mills grew up in a wealthy family in Encino, Los Angeles, where she was a high school cheerleader. During high school, she was a genuine, athletic, independent, tough, and down to earth teenager. She had a keen interest in learning to play soccer, and enjoyed spending time at the Arcade where she excelled at all of the games.
The Karate Kid (1984)
Ali first notices Daniel LaRusso at a beach party, where he is given the impression that she is "off-limits" by his friends because she is "Hills" (meaning part of the "rich girls" clique). They inevitably meet when he teaches her a few soccer moves. Johnny Lawrence, a senior in the high school and Ali's ex-boyfriend, is infuriated when he sees her with Daniel. He drives his motorcycle into their conversation and demands to talk to Ali. Despite repeatedly telling him to leave her alone, Johnny continues to insist she talk with him. Daniel tries to stick up for Ali and is badly beaten by Johnny, who is experienced in karate. Ali attempts to help him, but he pushes her away.
Daniel and Ali meet the next day at their high school on the soccer field. It is during this conversation that she introduces herself as "Ali — with an ‘i’", to which he responds that he is "Daniel — with an ‘l’". As they continue to get to know each other, Daniel discovers that Johnny is Ali's ex-boyfriend (as of 3 weeks). As her interest in Daniel deepens, Ali encourages him to stand up to Johnny, whom she feels is a bully and realizes is frequently beating Daniel up. She tells Daniel that "It's just that he [Johnny] thinks he can do whatever he wants to people." She also tells Daniel that she would "love to see him [Johnny] get a dose of his own medicine." Unfazed by Johnny's outbursts, she frequently tells him off or yells at him, and is angry that he will not leave her alone.
Ali's down to earth nature is highlighted during her first date with Daniel, when she is picked up by Daniel's mother Lucille in an old car that stalls. Not only does Ali immediately get along with Lucille, but willingly helps Lucille and Daniel start the car up again. This interaction is a stark contrast with Ali's parents who interrogate Daniel when they meet him and are not impressed that he lives in Reseda rather than Encino. This difference in social class is further emphasized at the end of the date, when Daniel is teased by other teenagers because he is picked up by his mother in their old car (an incident that bothers him more than Ali).
Social class is further reinforced when Ali asks Daniel to meet her after dinner with her parents at an elite country club. Johnny, also at the club, tries to get her attention and is aided by Ali's parents (who prefer Johnny to Daniel). Ali, however, is hostile after she is coerced to dance with Johnny by her mother, and hits him in the face when he forces her to kiss him (a move he made to infuriate Daniel who was watching in the kitchen). She yells at Johnny, "don't you ever do that to me again" and storms away (as Daniel also tries to run away but crashes into the kitchen staff).
A few days later, equipped with a driver's license and a car from Mr. Miyagi, Daniel finds Ali at the Arcade, and they argue (as Daniel is angry over the kiss he witnessed and Ali is angry about the entire incident). Daniel accuses her of being a snob who is behaving badly because he isn't "rich with a fancy car." This statement infuriates Ali, as it contradicts her real nature, which she summarizes by telling him: "you know Daniel I didn't go out with you because of a car or where you live ... I thought maybe you were different." She then makes him understand that the discomfort with the class differences between them comes from him and not from her. Daniel also learns that Ali rejected Johnny's kiss, after her friend tells him that Ali punched Johnny with "her right hook- you think she sprained her wrist doing her nails?" Daniel then apologizes, and Ali agrees to support him at the tournament against Johnny the next day.
Ali arrives at the tournament with Johnny and Mr. Miyagi, and tells the officials that she needs to be at the ringside because she is Mr. Miyagi's translator. Since neither Daniel nor Miyagi know the actual rules of competitive karate, Ali quickly teaches Daniel what he needs to know before the competition begins. Daniel eventually proceeds to the finals and defeats Johnny. Ali rushes to hug Daniel afterward as they celebrate his victory.
Karate Kid Part II (1986)
Ali does not appear in The Karate Kid Part II. Instead, at the beginning of the film (six months after the end of The Karate Kid), Daniel returns early one morning to Mr. Miyagi's house dressed in a tuxedo and driving what is now the badly beaten up car Mr. Miyagi had given him. Surprised, Mr. Miyagi said that it "must have been some senior prom, what happened?" In response, Daniel exclaims (with anger): "you mean, what didn't happen! First I let Ali borrow the car and she redesigns my fender. And I don't know what she did with the engine but that ain't running right either. And you know what else she does? She tells me that she's just fallen in love with some football player from UCLA. Why didn't she just lie?" No further references are made to her in the film.
Cobra Kai (2018- )
Ali has not appeared in the series yet, but aspects of her life are narrated by other characters throughout seasons one and two.
34 years after the events of The Karate Kid, Johnny and Daniel meet accidentally after Johnny's car is towed to Daniel's auto business. Prosperous and successful Daniel appears happy to see him, while Johnny (who was just fired from his construction job and is living in a small apartment in Reseda, California) is very uncomfortable. Daniel introduces Johnny to his employees as a "guy who really had it in for me" when they were in high school. Johnny replies that he behaved that way because Daniel "move[d] in on my girl", referring to the fact that he and Ali had dated before she met Daniel. In response, Daniel states that "she actually wasn't really your girl anymore was she," as Ali and Johnny had broken up a few weeks before Daniel met her at the beach.
Johnny tells Miguel his version of his relationship with Ali. According to Johnny, in the Summer of 1982, he and his Cobra Kai friends went to see the movie Rocky III. They noticed a group of girls in front of them and one of his friends, Dutch, began to throw Milk Duds at them. When Miguel is surprised, Johnny explains that it was an "Alpha move," because girls like guys who "treat them like crap." The girls became angry and one of them - Ali - got up and began yelling at Dutch, pouring her popcorn (with butter) all over him. Johnny said that was the first time he met Ali, and thought that she was a "firecracker." After turning him down many times, Ali finally said yes to a date. He took her to "Golf and Stuff", where they kissed on the ferris wheel. Johnny said that they were "madly in love" and dated for two years. She gave Johnny the black headband he wears during Karate. However, the summer before senior year, they had a big fight. While he thought they would "work things out," Ali met Daniel instead. Johnny eventually lost both the All-Valley tournament, and Ali, to Daniel.
Johnny and Daniel end up in a bar and begin to talk about their shared childhood over drinks. Daniel reveals to Johnny that Ali is currently a pediatric surgeon who has since moved to Denver with her husband Gregory Schwarber, an oncologist whom she met in med school. Daniel says he has not spoken to Ali since 1985, to which Johnny thinks it odd Daniel knows so much about a woman he has not seen in decades. Daniel says he learned of her from his Facebook account, which Johnny has no knowledge of. It displays her name as Ali Mills Schwarber, and shows a picture of Dr. Schwarber, of which Daniel and Johnny both apparently agree he is a "pretty boy". Daniel mentions that he did not send her a friend request, as he believes Amanda would frown on him reconnecting with ex-girlfriends; moreso he sees no purpose in the first place.
Daniel tells Samantha his version of his relationship with Ali (to help Samantha work through her breakup with Miguel). First, he states, when he lived in New Jersey, he fell in love with Judy, and thought it would last forever. It ended, however, when he moved to California. Then, he met Ali and this time he was sure that "she was the one" and that "it was true love." When Samantha asks him what happened with Ali, he told her that it was "a story for another time." He continues to say that after Ali, there was another story, and then after that, there was another story.
Johnny receives a call from his Cobra Kai friend Bobby, now a Pastor, that their friend Tommy is in the hospital with a terminal illness. Johnny goes to see them and is joined by their other Cobra Kai friend Jimmy. They take Tommy out for a 24-hour road trip and reminisce about high school. During the conversation, Johnny makes a confession. He states that on the night that their other Cobra Kai friend Dutch got so drunk that he smashed a dart board, he also got so drunk that he missed Ali's birthday - ultimately leading up to the "big fight" that ended their relationship. Later that evening, Tommy also makes a confession, this time just to Johnny. He said that he was also in love with Ali (whom he met in Homeroom during Freshman year) but never had the courage to ask her out. After Johnny began dating her, Tommy said was inspired to become a Cobra Kai so that he could gain Johnny's courage, although he got over Ali as he did not wish to have her come between him and a fellow Cobra. Johnny responded by saying that he never got over Ali, though he dated many women after her. Ali was the only one with whom Johnny was able to "let his guard down."
One night while drinking in a bar, Johnny types a Facebook message to Ali, which he hesitates to send. He only sends the message accidentally (and without his knowledge) after someone bumps into him, forcing him to press the "send" button.
After losing the Cobra Kai dojo to Kreese, and seeing his student Miguel Diaz on life support, Johnny drives to the beach and throws his smart phone away into the sand in a fit of rage. He is thus unaware that Ali has sent him a Facebook "friend request" in response to the Facebook message he had unknowingly sent earlier.
Elisabeth Shue attended Wellesley College. She transferred to Harvard University in 1985, from which she withdrew to pursue her acting career (she was inspired by a friend to work in television commercials as a way to pay for college) one semester short of earning her degree. It was during this time that she auditioned for the part of Ali in the Karate Kid. Among the younger cast members, Shue remembers Ralph Macchio [Daniel] as someone who was considered a "a big star compared to the rest of us. We were all like: Woah, he has a manager." Shue also recalls "being incredibly jealous that Ralph got to learn karate and I didn’t. I made fun of him a little bit, like: I could kick your ass." In contrast, Shue was put through a different kind of physical conditioning for the beach scene: "I remember having to wear a bathing suit for that scene, which was a big deal because I felt so uncomfortable. When we first started filming, I was given a trainer (Jake Steinfeld, of Body by Jake fame) and asked to stay in shape." Shue thinks of The Karate Kid as her "first movie and I was still pretty starry-eyed about it all. What was so extraordinary about The Karate Kid is that I don't think anyone involved felt like we were making a culturally important 1980s movie. I remember thinking that the title felt pretty insubstantial and I wondered about Ralph Macchio's karate skills..."
Shue is not yet committed to appearing in the Cobra Kai series, but is "thinking about it." In another interview, Shue added: "In Karate Kid 2, my character was kind of pushed aside in a way that didn’t feel so great. So it’s funny how the idea of Ali coming back [started] … At first, I thought, “Well, her character really left the world of The Karate Kid in a way that wasn’t so great…would people care about her coming back?” She later added: “So I was interested in why they wanted Ali to come back in some ways ... I’ll see you know, how it goes … It makes me happy that people care about Ali — with an ‘i’" When speaking with Entertainment Tonight Canada, Shue said that an offer has been made and that "Ali — with an ‘i’ may live once again." In an interview with The Tomorrow Show with Keven Undergaro, Mary Mouser (Samantha LaRusso) commented that she doesn’t know much about what will happen in season three, but that she “would love to see Ali come back.”
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