‘One Piece’ Star Emily Rudd Says “The Spirit” of Eiichiro Oda’s Original Manga Is “So Strong” in Netflix Adaptation

Get ready to set sail, Straw Hat Pirates! In celebration of the 10-day countdown to the anticipated release of Netflix‘s One Piece live-action series, the streamer has shared a behind-the-scenes look at the making of its new adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s popular manga.

The exciting, nearly four-minute clip introduces the cast and creators of the adventure comedy and offers commentary from each, including fan-favorite Emily Rudd, who plays navigational expert Nami. 

Describing the series in a Netflix interview filmed last summer, before the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, Rudd says the story is about “adventure” and “found family.” The actor also shares that Nami is her favorite character. “She’s the cool, calm, and collected cat burglar of the group,” the Fear Street actor explains. “It’s been truly amazing playing this role.”

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Rudd continues to say that “the spirit” of One Piece is “so strong” in the eight-part series. Taz Skylar, who plays chain-smoking chef Sanji, echoes her, sharing, “The original IP material is the thing that makes it so great and all of us want to honor that.”

One Piece is an incredibly well-known franchise that has spun 106 graphic novels – the latest issue released on July 4, 2023 –  and over 1000 episodes of an anime series, and with that territory comes overprotective fans. 

The live-action adaptation seems dedicated to mitigating potential blowback by welcoming Oda as an executive producer, and many of the cast and crew members are fans of the source material. In the behind-the-scenes video, showrunner Matt Owens says, in making the series, he wants to “bring the manga into a new medium and new audiences.”

Photo: Netflix

At a One Piece event in June, Rudd spoke with Decider about her upcoming role, during which she gushed about her costars and being part of the series. “I truly can’t put it into words. I feel like I’m done. What could possibly be next? If I had to stop here, I’d be like, ‘This is good enough for me,’” she shared. “I’m really proud of the show we made. We made a nerd show — a good nerd show. A show made by nerds, for nerds.”

Speaking about her costars, Rudd said she spent the most time on set with Iñaki Godoy, who plays pirate captain Monkey D. Luffy. “We all kind of spent time with each other equally, but I spent a lot of time with Iñaki [Godoy] and we definitely developed this older sister/younger brother dynamic. He’s 19 and I am not, so I felt a little protective of him,” she said. “Also, he’s so energetic, so playful — it’s infectious. We created silly little bits that we just milked to death.”

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Photo: Netflix

In July, concurrent with the release of the trailer, Oda published a letter to fans saying there were “no compromises” during the making of the live-action series. He went on to share that he’s unbothered about hateful comments coming from his fanbase. “I’m sure I’ll hear about some people pointing out how this character is missing or that scene is omitted, or this bit is different from the manga. But I’m sure they’ll come from a place of love, so I intend to enjoy even those comments,” Oda explained. 

One Piece follows Monkey D. Luffy, a young dreamer, as he leaves his small village in search of treasure and assembles a talented pirate crew to help him on his journey to become King of the Pirates. Per Netflix, the journey will include, “finding a ship to sail, searching every inch of the vast blue seas, outpacing the Marines, and outwitting dangerous rivals at every turn.”

One Piece premieres August 31, 2023 on Netflix.


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