Death Note: What We Know About the US Adaptation

That’s right, after a few years in developmental hell Warner Bros’ adaptation of the Japanese manga/anime Death Note is finally seeing some movement in Hollywood.

The original manga is an amazing read with engaging characters and a fantasy/horror/crime theme that is definitely going to be difficult to replicate on the big screen. The anime is also definitely worth checking out, though there are a few differences between the source material and animated adaptation. This also isn’t the first live-action adaptation to hit the big screens, as a Japanese-produced film opened overseas a few years ago which resulted in sequels and even spin-offs.

Death Note

We’ve seen a few hands touch the US adaptation over the last few years, such as Iron Man 3‘s Shane Black, but recently the film moved over to director Adam Wingard. Wingard is most well known for his recent indie horrors The Guest and You’re Next, which both are great examples of their unique horror sub-genres.

Wingard wasted no time in building his cast, with Paper Towns star Nat Wolff in talks to star. Since this is a US adaptation and could very possibly be changed a lot, we can’t fully speculate on who the leads will be. But using thier original source counterparts, we can expect Wolff to be taking on the role of Light Yagami.

Death Note - Nat Wolff

Who’s that, you ask? Let’s take a look at the original source material for a second. Death Note was written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It follows a brilliant student named Light Yagami who finds a Death Note, a supernatural journal that belongs to a shinigami, or Death God. These shinigami use these notes to kill, as anybody whose name is written in the Death Note dies, without question. Light, having decided to use the book to rid the world of evil, embarks on a homicidal quest that leaves hundreds dead over time. He is accompanied by the owner of his Death Note, the shinigami Ryuk, and his fan/girlfriend/accomplice Misa Amane. His actions pique the interest of a reclusive detective named L who secretly works only the most difficult cases, and a dangerous game between Light and L begins.

It’s also possible Wolff could be playing L, the strange detective who engages in a pretty intense game of cat-and-mouse with Light, who is known as Kira to the world at large. Though Light would be the most likely choice.

Death Note - Margaret Qualley

More recently news hit that Wingard has added another name to the cast, with The Leftovers star Margaret Qualley joining in an undetermined role. Again, things are very likely to change with the adaptation, but we can assume that Qualley will be playing the role of Misa Amane, a model/pop star who becomes enamored with Kira, and eventually falls in love with Light Yagami after she finds out his secret.

The most recent draft of the script was written by Jeremy Slater, with Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Jason Hoffs, and Masi Oka all producing. This production is still moving along slowly, but after years in development it’s exciting to see a confirmed director and some cast members announced. Hopefully we’ll hear some plans or casting for my favorite character Ryuk at some point in the near future.

Death Note - Ryuk

We’ll be following the production of Death Note very closely, so be sure to keep it locked to Grizzlybomb to see news as it develops! Also let us know your thoughts on the US adaptation in the comments section below, or join the discussion on the Grizzlybomb Facebook page!


Images: Madhouse, Shueisha, HBO, 20th Century Fox   

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