When last we reported on the Warner Bros. adaptation of writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata’s manga Death Note, it was to let you know that Adam Wingard (You’re Next) would be directing the live-action film. That was just this past April, but now a new story reports that Nat Wolff is in final negotiations to star in the lead role. Hopefully that means development on this picture is starting to pick up a little more steam.
Wolff is hot off a string of popular and successful films, including recent John Green adaptations The Fault in Our Stars and this year’s Paper Towns. He’s currently starring in Nancy Meyers’ well-received workplace comedy, The Intern, opposite Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. Now, as Variety reports, Wolff may be headed to Death Note if his negotiations work out. He would be playing the lead role, that of a student who happens to discover “a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone simply by writing the victim’s name.” This takes him on a quest to “cleanse the world of evil” as he sees it, which puts him square in the crosshairs of a reclusive police detective.
In the manga, resulting anime series, and Japan’s live-action adaptation, the lead role was named Light Yagami, who was aided by a Shinigami death spirit named Ryuk. The detective in the previous adaptations was named simply L. It remains to be seen if Wingard’s adaptation will hew that close to the original material, or if it will be re-imagined in some way. While Wolff is a fantastic addition to the project, fans should use the eventual casting of L and Wingard’s plan to bring Ryuk to life as further litmus tests for the adaptation. I’m particularly interested in the latter decision, banking on Wingard’s horror experience to do the character justice. There’s currently no announced release date, but production is scheduled to begin next spring. Hopefully we’ll hear more on its development sooner than later.
To get a taste of what Death Note is all about, take a look at the intro from the anime below: