[Honey’s Anime Interview] Sonny Strait (Usopp), Ian Sinclair (Brook), and Brina Palencia (Chopper) from One Piece Film: Red

One Piece Film: Red is the newest film in the long-running One Piece franchise, due for English dubbed release on the 4th of November.

The story of Film: Red focuses on Uta, the long-estranged childhood friend of Luffy and the adoptive daughter of Shanks. Uta has become a world-famous idol, and the straw hats arrive at her concert alongside her thousands of fans as Gordon, her instructor, and father figure in Shanks’ absence, watches from the sides.

We spoke with Usopp, Brook, and Chopper’s voice actors, the very talented Sonny Strait, Ian Sinclair, and Brina Palencia, about the production, their performances, and their parts in the story of One Piece Film: Red.

Sonny Strait

Ian Sinclair

Brina Palencia

Interview with Sonny Strait (Usopp), Ian Sinclair (Brook), and Brina Palencia (Chopper)

First up, how have your voice styles changed over the years with the characters, and are there any specific adaptations you do for feature movies like this as opposed to weekly episodes?

Has our voice styles changed with the characters over the years? Yeah, I think so. They have to because the characters are getting older. Luckily, we're getting older as well. So, we can adapt pretty easily without having to think too much about it. But also, you know, the more you get to know your characters, you're gonna put in nuances that you didn't have before, and we've been doing this for a few years.

For a while, yeah.

I think the big difference between doing a movie and doing the show is that when we're doing the show, we have the continuity of the last episode that we've been doing. Whereas the movies sometimes will take place in the future from where we are in the dub. So we have to receive a different level of context. And sometimes you haven't met a character before because, you know, you'll have some big scene with them and an arc in between when the movie comes out and where you are in the dub. So sometimes that happens.

Perfect, the next question is for Sonny. What did you think of the Kiss-inspired outfit at the start of the movie for Usopp?

Well, I absolutely was overjoyed by that because I've been a kiss fan since the 70s. So to see him looking like Gene Simmons, I was like, this can't be happening. This is amazing. I want to rock and roll all night.

That was gonna be my follow-up, are you a Kiss fan yourself, but there you go.

I even had their solo albums that weren't really solo albums. They just decided we'll put out four albums with our faces on each of them. And I can talk about Kiss all day, we better move on.

I like this!

I just realized I'm going down a Kiss rabbit hole right now that you probably don't want to go down with me.

That's the exact answer I wanted to hear as a Kiss fan myself. That's exactly what I wanted to hear. Next one for yourself, Ian, has Brook always been a music aficionado and did you have to train to hit those notes in the scene getting them off the sheet music?

Yeah. Brooke always has. Brooke is an amazing musician, which makes my job so much harder. If Brooke was a bad musician, my job would be just super easy because then I'm like, I don't care if I hit notes or not because he can't, but he's the soul king. And he's proficient in so many instruments, and he's incredible. But luckily, through all my singing, I have had the wonderful Brina Palencia to hold my hand as I wept and neurotically stumbled through all of my previous songs.

Ian is actually a very good singer, but he has the least amount of confidence of basically any good singer I know.

Brina has led all of us by the hand on many songs over the years, and I have incredible confidence and no ability to sing. So it’s a completely different experience for her. “Could you try to hit the note?” Eh, Nah.

She’s so nice, she’s like, “Okay honey, that was good, a little flat, but really good.” In this movie, though, I didn’t have Brina to hold my hand, so I got very nervous. They were like, “You gotta sing.”, and I was like oh God, everyone involved in the singing in this one is so good. They’re like, “It’s just a couple of notes, can you hit this note?” I’m like kinda, aaaaahhhhh, and I’m done. Cool, done, that’s it.

Next one for Brina, I have to ask, how hard is it to do Chopper’s battle noises and screams?

Honestly, it's easier for me to do screams and battle sounds in Chopper’s voice than it is in my own voice. It hurts less. I don't know, there's the way that it's placed in my voice. I don't know if it's because it's high or whatever, but, like, it's actually a lot easier to do than on my own.

That’s not what I was expecting at all…

No, everyone’s surprised, I don’t understand the science behind it, but for some reason, it’s just easier to do.

So if you're just screaming regularly with your own voice, it hurts more than if you're using Choppers?


That's interesting.

I made sure to do that with Brook’s screams as well.

You should have thought of that, Sonny! You should have known!
*All show off their screams for a few seconds* Something about that high pitch.

It’s above the vocal cords.

So is this like a voice acting technique to get hurt less you just go higher and higher?

Oh for sure!

There is a vocal technique I use, it's called screaming over the pencil. And if you put a pencil on your teeth, if you try to scream under that pencil, it pushes your throat in a weird way and tightens it. But if you scream over the pencil, it opens your throat. So with Usopp, a lot of times, I'm thinking over the pencil, over the pencil.

That’s probably why, Chopper is for sure up here with the screams *points to her forehead*.

That was more detailed than I expected. Next one for Sonny, is Usopp a diehard fan of Uta’s music?

Oh yeah, he totally is, but also, I think, how could you not be a fan, you know? The range, not just in notes but the sounds she creates in her voice, is so incredible and flexible.

Yeah, she is able to sing through so many genres. I mean, each song is written by a different composer, and so each is just a totally different style and feel. She showcases so much ability in this movie.

Amazing. For Sonny again, why does Usopp always have the best rallying speeches for his allies, and was it nice for him to play a leadership role in the fight against Tot Musica?

Yeah, I mean, of course, it was nice to play a leadership role, but because he needs to make himself useful somehow. So rallying speeches would be great, I really think the reason why is because he is one of the more emotional characters on the show. So he does feel the honor to battle with these people, and he really wants to bring that to the fore. Whereas, you know, Luffy, he's just there to have fun he has a sense of honor and direction, but he doesn't feel things the way Usopp feels things, so I can see why he would be the one to give an inspirational speech because it's coming from a place of love.

That’s perfect. Next one for Ian, do you plan to get a fur-collared, purple jacket like Brook wears in the movie, and do you think it suits your style?

I want one so bad!

We were just talking about this!

We all want our costumes from the movie.

If someone can hook us up with the costumes we wore at that concert, I know I will wear mine.

At the end, I want that one.

I like the costume at the end better too.

Okay, for me, I think I would look better in my first.

Yeah, in like the day-to-day.

I think the purple with the fur’s a little better than the leather dress…well…

Depends on where you’re going?


There’s so much leather in our outfits, right?

Very squeaky. If somebody can find me that jacket, message me!

Dress us all!

I never wear anything from the show *points to his One Piece hoody*.

Okay, so the next one for Brina is about the movie, and when they’re all in a dream state from Uta’s singing, how does Chopper talk to the rats? Are they asleep as well, like the people?

That’s a good point…

I think, probably, I gotta be honest, I don’t know, and I don’t wanna answer that question because I’m not sure.

I think you’re onto something there.

Chopper’s life evolved past being an animal after eating the fruit.

As he says many times, he is a man, he says, “I’m a reindeer, but I’m also a man!”. Excellent question.

Okay, so the next one for Brina is about the movie, and when they’re all in a dream state from Uta’s singing, how does Chopper talk to the rats? Are they asleep as well, like the people?

Oda is an absolute genius. When we were first cast in the show, we had the honor of being cast by him and his crew, which has never happened to me before. Since then, it’s the one role I say to people if you don’t like the way I do it, I don’t care because the creator of the series says this is what it sounds like in my head. So any involvement from Oda is welcome and brilliant.


That's why it’s so good.

Final Thoughts

Hearing directly from the actors really helps us to understand the process of developing a character for the screen. What did you think of this interview? Are you excited to see One Piece Film: Red in theatres? Let us know in the comments!

One-Piece-Film-Red-Wallpaper-4-225x350 [Honey’s Anime Interview] Sonny Strait (Usopp), Ian Sinclair (Brook), and Brina Palencia (Chopper) from One Piece Film: Red


Author: Lewis Williamson

A researcher from Ireland, I watch and write about anime in my spare time, and I also play a lot of video games.

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One-Piece-Film-Red-Wallpaper-4-225x350 [Honey’s Anime Interview] Sonny Strait (Usopp), Ian Sinclair (Brook), and Brina Palencia (Chopper) from One Piece Film: Red

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