The Death Note movie is moving much closer to becoming a reality, although for a minute there things seemed iffy. The adaptation of the manga of the same name was apparently put into turnaround by Warner Bros. after You’re Next director Adam Wingard had already enlisted Nat Wolff to star, but Variety reports that Netflix has now swooped in and picked up the project, with production aiming to start this June. The streaming service is in final negotiations to acquire the R-rated adaptation, although STX and Lionsgate were also looking at the property after Warner Bros. decided it wasn’t something they wanted to move forward with at this time (I wonder why?).
Paper Towns star Wolff leads the film alongside Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers), which tells the story of a student who happens to discover a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone simply by writing the victim’s name in it. He subsequently sets out to rid the world of evil, but becomes the target of a reclusive police detective.
Death Note was previously adapted into an animated feature film in Japan, but Wingard—coming off the terrific thriller The Guest—and screenwriter Jeremy Slater (Fantastic Four) are bringing the property to life in live-action form. We previously spoke with producer Roy Lee about the intended tone, and he revealed that this is “definitely for adults,” adding that the Death Note movie “will be one of the first manga adaptations that feels very grounded but still has fantastical elements.”
This marks the latest in a series of big gets for Netflix, which secured Suicide Squad director David Ayer’s next film Bright, starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, for a whopping $90 million and just landed a National Lampoon biopic called A Futile and Stupid Gesture from David Wain and Will Forte. Death Note is a bit smaller scale than Bright—somewhere in the $40 million to $50 million range—but is a fascinating project that will nonetheless add further diversity to Netflix’s ever-growing original film slate.