Apples and Shinigami at the ready Death Note fans, because a new live-action adaption of Death Note has officially begun production! Unlike the Japanese film of the same name from 2006, this film will be set in America and will have its plot, themes and characters changed to fit a Western setting. This will be done in an effort to avoid the white-washing controversy that other anime-inspired films have received, and to make the film more appealing to viewers who are unfamiliar with the manga and anime.
For those unaware of the Death Note series, it was a manga that ran between 2003-2006 for thirteen volumes, and was later adapted into an anime the following year. The story was a psychological thriller revolving around a genius high schooler, Light Yagami, who through a supernatural, death-dealing notebook, plans to create a utopia free from crime. But when the body count rises, the story turns into a game of wits between Light, the governments of the world, and the enigmatic detective ‘L’.
While details on the film have been kept quiet, they have revealed the cast and the crew working on it:
Nat Wolff (The Fault In Our Stars) – Light Yagami (Renamed Light Turner)
Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys) – Misa Amane (Renamed Mia Sutton)
Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton) – L
Paul Nakauchi (Fearless) – Watari
Shea Wigham (Boardwalk Empire) – Soichiro Yagami (Renamed James Turner)
CREW (According to an article by Bloody Disgusting)
Director: Adam Wingard – Director (A Horrible Way To Die, You’re Next)
Producers: Dan Lin – Producer (The Invention of Lying, Sherlock Holmes)
Masi Oka – Producer (Hawaii Five-O, Heroes)
Roy Lee – Producer (The Ring, The Grudge, The LEGO Movie)
The history these producers have with horror movies will be a great asset for the film’s ‘R’ rating (confirmed by Roy Lee in a Collider article in February), and the dark tone seen with many of Netflix’s recent films.
But despite the hype surrounding the movie, there is the matter of whether or not the movie will fall victim to the Anime/Movie Curse, a belief stemming from the fact that all Western movies based on anime have been critically panned and flopped.
Defiance of this trend has become the greatest concern for the film’s crew, but Adam Wingard stated his intention to avoid such problems in another Collider article:
“Our vision for Death Note has always been to bring this captivating story to the screen for its longtime manga fans and to introduce the world to this dark and mysterious masterpiece. The talent and diversity represented in our cast, writing, and producing teams reflect our belief in staying true to the story’s concept of moral relevance — a universal theme that knows no racial boundaries.”
Combine this resolve, the star-power behind its cast and producers AND its promotion as a Netflix feature movie, it is possible that Death Note could shatter the stigma surrounding Hollywood’s anime films.
Either way, this Death Note movie looks like it’s to die for, and all fans of the series will be waiting for it with bated breath and apples in hand.