Taz Skylar Sanji Interview
Article by Tristan Dyer
Please note: SAG-AFTRA members are currently on strike; as part of the strike, union actors are not promoting their film and TV projects. This interview and shoot was conducted prior to the strike.

In the wake of the highly anticipated Netflix series, ‘One Piece,’ Taz Skylar proved to be an advantageous force behind the anime turned live action series. Commanding an endearing theatrical presence, Skylar has whisked himself into the entertainment industry with a humble assertiveness allowing many enchanting doors to be opened as his career takes flight.

  Photos by Macrae Marran​​​​​​​

Recognized for his international and adventurous spirit, Skylar has adoringly inherited an itinerant way of life that allows him to be an adaptable creature. ‘I don’t spend the most time anywhere; it’s been equal amounts of time in different places. It’s beautiful and challenging.’The writer, producer, and actor from Tenerife further reflects, "is home the space you spend the most time or is home the place where you spend a little bit of time?’ Reminiscing about his early life and his drive to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, Skylar shared how there was not an umbrella of the arts to be inspired by. ‘We don’t even have theaters there; there are no theatre programs in schools. The closest thing was a subject called ‘Langua’ where we would write short stories and that was the closest exposition I had to anything artistic.’ Fast forward, Skylar developed his own brand of surfboards which adamantly called for promotion. This invited his talents behind the camera to create films of surfers putting the product in action. ‘I really enjoyed the film making aspect of it; I wanted to film people doing cool stuff and put it together,’ Skylar expressed. ​​​​​​
Expanding on his abilities, Skyler continued, ’I started writing and wanted to make longer form things so I went to London with the intent to be a writer. I started watching plays because I thought if I want to write stuff I need to figure out how people go about it. The first thing that people seem to write are plays, so I thought ok let me write a play.’ This was rapidly put into action and as a form of saving money, he put himself in his plays, thus being the birth of his acting career.

Appearing on the West End in London and beyond, Skylar has his fair share of live theatre under his belt. He played the role of Leonard Vole in Agatha Christies ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ and starred in Hamlet at the Old Vic, where he was recognized for his vast and versatile artistry.
‘The anticipation to live performance is very different to being on set as when you’re on set it’s a slow process that is much more smooth. Being on stage is a cliff you jump off because as soon as you step out on the stage and it’s lit, you’re all on your own. Everything changes with people in the audience waiting for you to entertain them. You have to trust so hard in the material that you’re working with. You feel emotions on stage very viscerally; you have to be willing to take the ride,’ Skylar shared on his intimate understanding of stage verses being on set.

Skylar and I tuned into his voyage on creating ‘One Piece’ and he shared how, ‘it was a huge jump from anything I had ever experienced before in terms of the scale. I had gone in a short period of time from doing a play in London to being on set in South Africa.’ With the series being at such a large scale compared to his former endeavors, Skylar expressed how, ‘the process of making‘One Piece’was like running up Mt. Everest. I could tell it was otherworldly and had a fantasy element to it; I didn’t equate the fantasy to being huge. There were two skill sets that I had no idea how to do, cooking and martial arts. I was trying to wrap my head around learning those and also to what degree was it possible to really learn those in the timeframe I had. It was a constant adjustment where I’d just see how far I can go with it; eventually we arrived at where we didn’t use doubles for anything.’
Premiering on August 31st, ‘One Piece’ has a vigorous and lively nature with a storyline that takes you on a fierce venture of a young boy to find the token ‘One Piece’ so he may become King of the Pirates. Skylar who plays the role of ‘Sanji’, found ways to become deeply related to this character as he developed him during the production process comparing them both as ‘someone who wants to find; the sense of knowing there are things out there that are meant for you and not knowing how you will get there; wanting to try and having the perseverance for it.’

Displaying a youthful and effervescent cast, Skylar shared how, ’We know each other so well it’s painful in a great way; not only because we’ve spent so much time together but we’ve gone through so many different things over the process of this journey. You only really get to know who someone is when you spend a lot of time with them and you’re tired because that’s when all the masks come off. What I found with my cast mates is that everyone is at a core level solid person.’
Taz Skyler shows off a jump reminiscent of Sanji from Netflix's One Piece
Already collecting a wide range of repertoire at this point in his journey, there is an honest voice that Skylar summons as he embodies the stance of a role model to the next generation. Skylar shared his advice expressing, ‘really make sure you love it. I wouldn’t call our job fun, I would call it fulfilling. In order for it to be fulfilling you have to truly enjoy it because the moments of joy are very fleeting.’ Skylar continued, ‘you have to know why you want to be at the table, what are you bringing to the table that is so inherently you that nobody else can bring. Otherwise why are you at the table?’ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Looking ahead, the path has no end for Skylar as he is currently devoting time to writing a play, a talent he has nurtured over the years and in addition to many other projects in development. Guided by the opinion of his parents, Skylar turns to them for their opinions to influence what he does going forward. ‘I want to make stuff that my mom would enjoy and be proud of. I really want to marry what is the honest indispensability with the effectiveness of commercial things; it only really works if it communicates to people that aren’t in the arts. When it doesn’t communicate to them and the only people that get it are the people that do the same job as you it’s not going to get to that many people. Hopefully I can make more as a writer and actor that they can enjoy.’
When out of the office, as a man who lives life on a quest for adventure, you’ll find Skylar skydiving, scuba diving, climbing, surfing, or continuing his newfound passion for martial arts; and that’s just scratching the surface. With abundant amounts of depth to his character that adds an evident zest to his work, we can only predict the horizon has a gleaming outlook as Skylar sets sail into his next chapter.
Taz Skylar @taz_skylar - Represented by Clair Dobbs @dobbsCLD CLD Communications Ltd
Writer/Interview Tristan Dyer @tristandyer
Photographer Macrae Marran @macraemarran
Assistant Photographer Jacquetta Clark @jacquettaclark
Groomer Nick Barford @nickbarford - Represented by Leftside Creative​​​​​​​

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