Monkey D. Luffy’s casting is the key to what will make Netflix’s One Piece work, and we’re excited to see more of the boundless energy and optimism that Iñaki Godoy exudes as Luffy in the trailer alone. Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s long-running, much-loved anime series about a misfit found family of pirates is set to premiere August 31 on the streamer.
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Recently, Godoy shared with Teen Vogue on YouTube how he found his interpretation of Monkey D. Luffy and how he was truly within him all along, “I realized that the main thing about Luffy was his smile. So I thought to myself if I can have that smile in my audition, I think I have a good shot at making this character. And hey, I think it worked!” he said, explaining that he didn’t find out why One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda chose him until later. “I remember I asked him that question like, ‘Why me? Why did you like me?’ And he said that I made him laugh in my audition.” Oda has actively advocated for the Netflix show, working closely with the studio to keep it true to the spirit of the anime.
To Godoy it was important to find Luffy and make him his own. “Getting into character with Luffy was a big challenge. He is very explosive, very optimistic. He’s a crazy guy in a lot of ways but he’s also kind and he doesn’t speak too much. He listens a lot. To me it felt like Luffy was an optimistic big dreamer who cares about his friends, who’s brave and committed and will do anything for his dreams … Luffy is extraordinary so you need to be different … I was watching the anime and it didn’t take me long to understand who this guy was. He sees a person who has been mistreated, he doesn’t really know them, and yet he decided to help them. And when he does that he does it with a smile. He gets into a fight and he’s smiling because he enjoys being a pirate.”
He continued describing how he related to that. “I think growing up I was a lot like Luffy in some ways. I had no worries in the world. Everything was so much fun … Mayume Tanaka has been voicing Luffy since 1999. And what she has done is amazing, amazing. And I would never try to replicate any of that because that’s her own thing … More than paying attention to what the dub actors were doing, I really just paid attention to what the character was all about … I found his voice just with time, it just appeared … While I was filming I had this One Piece journal, I put some pictures of Luffy in that book and I also put some pictures of me when I was a little kid because Luffy reminds me a lot of me when I was a little kid … I remember I did this thing, I would go to set and I would arrive with a theme song. I thought to myself, ‘What is the most important part about Luffy?’ Well, he has fun, right? So what is my goal here as an actor to embody this character? Well, I wanna to have fun and I want to help create a fun environment. So every time I arrived on set I would blast the John Cena theme song from the car.”
Godoy said the hardest scene to film was a very important one, where Luffy and Koby are talking about dreams. “It was a very important scene because Luffy is all about dreams, so I knew I had to get this scene right. This is what the character is all about … there’s this side of Luffy that he is very kind and nice. He’s not just a ball of energy—he’s a ball of energy who listens.”
Watch the whole video on Teen Vogue’s YouTube channel below, where Godoy shares all the aspects of becoming Luffy, from physicality to special effects and more.
One Piece season one premieres August 31 on Netflix.
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