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When it comes to adapting such an established piece of art like the One Piece franchise, you’d think that the production team has everything they need in terms of inspiration from the source material. However, not everything works in live-action format, and certainly the professionals involved want to bring their own vision to the story. That’s why production designer Richard Bridgland went to a slate of movies like Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Beast to come up with the series’ final look, as he told Collider’s Mike Thomas in an interview.
During the interview, Bridgland revealed that one of the fun things that the production team did in Cape Town (where the series was filmed) was to have a movie club in a local independent cinema so that everyone could see the kind of references they would use creatively in the One Piece adaptation. They watched everything from kung fu movies to famous classic romances, and all they watched ended up blending together to form an amalgamation of influences, but the production designer singles out some of them:
“[T]here’s a lovely old version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from the 1940s, Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et La Bête;’ we looked at that. It was for different references, or it might just be for atmosphere. All of that kind of thing. There wasn’t a sort of single movie reference that was kind of like, ‘Oh, this is what we’re trying to achieve,’ because what we were trying to achieve was unique, but we were taking things from all kinds of different other movies.”
One Piece: A Melting Pot of Movie Classics, Manga and Anime
Bridgland also commented that sometimes a movie would influence small details like the stories behind each of the sets, and sometimes a specific and small location would be inspired by an entire movie. There’s “a little bit” Alice in Wonderland in garden scenes throughout the series, and the production designer caps it off by stating that the combination and franchise creator Eiichiro Oda‘s inputs made for “pretty unique” sets.
Of course, we can’t forget that One Piece itself was a great source of creativity as well. The series’ distinct pirate ships are mostly a direct translation from the manga series, with slight changes that were made to reflect the personality of each ship’s captain. Also, sea monsters, devil fruits and small elements like the snail phone all made their way to the screen, so it seems like One Piece will be a big melting pot of manga, anime and movie references that populate the screen.
Netflix premieres One Piece this Thursday, August 31. You can watch the latest trailer below: