‘One Piece’ Showrunner Says Finding Their Luffy Was a ‘Journey’: ‘In Iñaki Godoy, We Really Lucked Up’

The cast and crew of the live-action Netflix series breaks down the characters in behind-the-scenes footage

“One Piece” co-showrunner Steven Maeda said it was a “journey” finding an actor to play the lead character of the Netflix live-action series, Monkey D. Luffy. The series is based on a manga which also produced an anime cartoon that’s aired more than 1,000 episodes.

In a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of the show, the cast and crew went into depth about finding actors to play the series’ main characters Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy), Nami (Emily Rudd), Roronoa Zoro (Mackenyu), Usopp (Jacob Romero Gibson) and Sanji (Taz Skylar). 

“Finding Luffy was such a journey because he is the center of the show,” showrunner and executive producer Steven Maeda said. 

“Monkey D. Luffy is a big dreamer. He’s so cheerful and he loves adventure,” star Godoy said of his character. “I think we both share a lot of the same values.”

“In this world, Luffy has the ability to turn his body into rubber,” co-showrunner and executive producer Matt Owens said, describing Luffy’s signature attack: his “gum-gum pistol.” “But his real power is his ability to inspire people.”

The production’s stunt coordinator Franz Spilhaus described “One Piece” as “a very stunt-driven show,” adding that actor Mackenyu “came with a style of his own.” Mackenyu said he grew up watching the “One Piece” anime.

“Zoro has always been my favorite character,” Mackenyu said. “It’s an honor to be wearing those swords.”

Owens described the character of Nami as an “older sister surrounded by a group of younger brothers.”

“Nami, obviously biased, is my favorite,” Emily Rudd shared. “She’s the cool, calm and collected cat burglar of the group.”

The sometimes timid and afraid Usopp is brought to life by Jacob Gibson. Rudd said her costar’s “goofy” personality made it “effortless” for him to portray the character.

“Usopp is the sniper, he’s the storyteller in charge of keeping everyone’s spirits,” Gibson said. 

As for Taz Skylar’s role as Sanji — who is Owens’ favorite — the actor said he had a lot of fun with the character. 

“Playing Sanji, I had to learn how to cook and fight,” Skylar said. “I was like, ‘This is going to be fun.’”

Netflix’s “One Piece,” which is based on Eiichiro Oda’s best-selling manga of the same name, will make its debut on the streamer on Aug. 31. 

“Eiichiro Oda created this entire world that is so special,” Maeda said. “I think when the show airs, it will be nothing like you’ve ever seen.”