Iñaki Godoy, who plays Monkey D. Luffy in the upcoming One Piece live-action adaptation, recently shared an unexpected take on the show’s stuntwork. According to Godoy, underwater scenes involving life-threatening danger were somehow easier to film than a simple scene on land.
One Piece follows Luffy, a pirate with rubber abilities who can stretch his body. When Godoy took on the iconic role, he knew playing the bendy, seafaring Luffy would involve underwater stunts.
What Godoy didn’t expect was that plunging 30 feet into the water would be simpler than acting in a scene on the ground. For the dangerous underwater takes, Godoy underwent intense physical training to hold his breath for minutes at a time. The stakes required total focus.
But for a straightforward scene where Luffy runs down a hill, Godoy struggles. Without the risk of drowning, his mind wandered and he kept missing his marks. The contrast surprised Godoy, who had assumed underwater stuntwork would be the bigger challenge.
Mind Over Matter
So why was mortal danger more conducive to success for Godoy? He believes it came down to mental state.
When performing risky underwater stunts, Godoy had to flip a switch in his mind. With his life at stake, he tapped into a primal focus, shutting out all distractions. The threat motivated sharper concentration than a leisurely hill run. The actor said the underwater scenes were “not the hardest”
”I have never filmed a scene in the sky. Or when I filmed underwater, that was also really wild. I would open my eyes and there will be divers with cameras filming me! And I have to act! Underwater. Oh wow, that was something new! The underwater scene was pretty hard, physically, because the water was freezing. But that was not the hardest scene to film” the actor said.
By zoning in on surviving, Godoy could execute the underwater scenes flawlessly. Meanwhile, the lack of urgency in the land scene allowed his thoughts to drift and threw off his timing. For Godoy, mortal peril got his head in the game.
Preparing for Any Scene
Moving forward, Iñaki Godoy plans to be equally intense when preparing for lower-risk scenes. Even without life-threatening danger, he now knows distractions can interfere with his performance.
To stay focused in mundane scenes, Godoy will recreate the mental clarity he felt during underwater stunts. He’ll visualize the stakes being just as high, whether running down a hill or having a conversation.
“Luffy is not just a ball of energy. He is a ball of energy who listens.” – Iñaki Godoy said.
Godoy also gained new respect for One Piece’s stunt professionals. By trusting their safety expertise, he could put aside fear and focus when submerged. He’ll apply that trust in stunt teams to land scenes. With their guidance, he can approach every take with the same daring mindset.
A Valuable Lesson Learnt
For Iñaki Godoy, his surprising experience on One Piece taught him that acting is a mental game. Mindset impacts performance, regardless of physical risk.
“I think for me, the hardest thing to film… I had this one scene with Koby in a dinghy, where we’re talking about dreams and that he wants to be a Marine. That scene particularly, was one of the first scenes that I filmed.”
By tapping into his life-or-death concentration at will, Godoy can achieve the same focus whether he’s 30 feet under or on solid ground. Every scene requires committing 100% mentally. Godoy’s underwater epiphany will make him a sharper, braver actor capable of capturing Luffy’s spirit on land and sea. Wherever the role takes him next, he’ll jump in head first.