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Marc Jobst Reveals The Hardest Part About Turning The Series Into Live-Action - Exclusive

Adapting the long-running manga series "One Piece" into a live-action show for Netflix was never something to be taken lightly. After 26 years and 106 volumes, the story has accumulated a mind-boggling — and highly devoted — following, selling over 500 million copies worldwide to date. Since 1997, fans have remained enthralled by the adventures of the young pirate named Luffy, who travels the seas with his Straw Hat crew looking for the mythical treasure known as the One Piece in order to be crowned the next Pirate King. And turning those pen-and-ink characters into real-life heroes was no easy task.

Just ask director Marc Jobst, who helmed the first two episodes of the new eight-part live-action series that is now streaming on Netflix. While he has previously been involved in big-budget Netflix series like "The Witcher" and "Daredevil," taking on "One Piece" presented its own unique challenges. As he told us during an exclusive interview, Jobst was only slightly familiar with "One Piece" before being hired to tackle the live-action adaptation — and the biggest piece of the puzzle when it came to bringing the series to life was turning the characters into three-dimensional people.

"One of the biggest things I felt that we wanted to do was ... create characters that the audience would fall in love with," he said. "An audience doesn't fall in love with the world [we created]. They fall in love with the people."

'Trying to replicate two dimensions becomes unbelievable'

Beyond finding the perfect cast, the biggest challenge of the adaptation for Marc Jobst was all about moving the characters off of the pages of the manga and onto the small screen in a realistic way.

"You are essentially trying to turn a two-dimensional world and two-dimensional drawings into a three-dimensional world in which you put real human beings who have emotions and boundaries to their own physicality," he told us. "Our biggest thought was to make sure that we dimensionalized the characters, that we gave them full emotional lives, backstories, desires, wants, frailties, all those things that a human being has. If we try to replicate two dimensions, it becomes unbelievable, and the audience can't really relate to it."

Then, there was also the challenge of making the live-action "One Piece" adaptation look like what fans would be expecting.

"As a director, when you look at the manga and you look at the framings of the manga, you think, 'How do we bring some of those low angles of the foot coming down into the front of the frame, or one-eye shots, into live action and make it feel grounded and real?'" he said. "That's why we got these special lenses built for us in Germany that had never been used before. They were super-close focus, but also very wide. That's what gives the show a particular look and allows the audience to be with the characters all the time, to travel with them while still seeing the world."

Marc would like to state that he supports both SAG and WGA in their pursuit of reaching a fair and equitable resolution to the respective strikes. In talking about his work — past and present — he does so with unequivocal support for the highly skilled crews that make up the different unions (SAG and WGA included) and believes all should be valued and recompensed for the contributions they make in bringing these series and films to life.

"One Piece" is a live-action pirate adventure created in partnership with Shueisha and produced by Tomorrow Studios and Netflix. Matt Owens and Steven Maeda are writers, executive producers, and showrunners. Eiichiro Oda, Marty Adelstein, and Becky Clements also executive produce. All eight episodes of the series are available now on Netflix.