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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hollywood Adapting Live-Action "Death Note"

Hollywood is taking a crack at adapting a live-action version of the popular anime/manga "Death Note" and they have been eyeing Adam Wingard (who directed the terrorizingly underrated slasher film "You're Next") to direct this adaptation. [hit the jump to continue]

Based on the manga of the same name from writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata. For those unfamiliar, the story follows high schooler Light Yagami, a bored prodigy who finds a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it. Seeing an opportunity, Light proceeds to create a world in his own image, killing off everyone from serial killers to rapists and thieves. However, the police doesn't take too kindly to Light's new brand of justice, and an internationally renowned detective named L makes it his personal mission to find out who's responsible for these murders and take them down. From there, the story becomes a game of cat and mouse between two geniuses. The premise is a strong one, and unlike a lot of anime or manga out there, it can easily be adapted to western sensibilities.

Plans for this adaptation have been brewing since earlier this year. Screenwriter Jeremy Slater ("Fantastic Four" and "The Lazarus Effect") is set to write it, "Paper Towns" star Nat Wolff has beene eyed to take the lead in the film--presumably the equivalent of Light (though they're probably going to change the name). Margaret Qualley, a relatively new actress who some may recognize from the Showtime original series, "The Leftovers" has also been eyed. There's no word on who she'll be playing, but if the manga is any indication, she'll be playing Misa Amane (again, they'll likely change the names), a famous supermodel who gets a Death Note of her own in the second half of the series and falls head over heels in love with Light. I'd be interested to see where they take this character, as she was somewhat controversial during the manga's run due to her shallow, dumb, and one-track portrayal. More than anything, she seemed more like a plot device than a true character. All the same, she definitely adds an extra bit of conflict to the series.

"Death Note" already had a Japanese live-action adaptation in 2006 which was directed by Shūsuke Kaneko ("Azumi 2" and the Heisei Gamera trilogy) and starred Tatsuya Fujiwara (who played Nanahara in "Battle Royale" and Shishio in the "Rurouni Kenshin" live-action films). It was followed by a sequel "Death Note 2: The Last Name" and a spin-off film "L: Change the World" by Hideo Nakata (director of The phenomenal "Ring", "Ring 2", and the Hollywood "The Ring Two".
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