Simultaneously highly anticipated by its fans and under-the-radar as far as the general movie-going audience is concerned, Adam Wingard’s Death Note movie adaptation is one of the more interesting Hollywood productions out there today. Based on the manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note has already been adapted into three live-action films, a live-action TV series, and even a musical. There are plans for a fourth film subtitled “Light Up the New World” due out in Japan this October, but Wingard’s adaptation would be the first Western adaptation.
Netflix announced today that principal photography has begun on Wingard’s version of Death Note and will be shooting in Canada and the U.S. It stars Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars) as Light Turner, Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) as Mia Sutton, Keith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton) as “L,” Paul Nakauchi (Alpha and Omega) as Watari, and Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire) as James Turner. The film will be produced by Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Jason Hoffs, and Masi Oka.
The first thing that fans of the manga/movies/anime will probably spot is the name change of the main characters. Wolff’s character Light Turner is the protagonist, a high schooler who’s long been named Light Yagami in the source material. When he finds a powerful notebook, which has the ability to kill people just by writing their name in it, his good intention of ridding the world of crime through murder soon draws the attention of the local authorities. One of them is the world’s greatest detective, known as “L,” a name which carries over from the manga. His assistant Watari keeps that character’s name consistent in this new movie, as well. Light does have some support other than the supernatural variety, however, in the form of Mia Sutton, who’s presumably stepping into the role of Misa Amane from the manga. This is a solid cast so far, but what’s more interesting to me will be the casting decision for the supernatural entity known as Ryuk.
Here’s what Wingard had to say about the chance to adapt this decidedly original piece of fiction:
“I am honored to be working with this great cast and I look forward to bringing Tsugumi and Takeshi’s unique story to a global audience.”
And despite some name changes, producers Lee and Lin are looking forward to introducing new audiences to this story while being mindful of having a diverse cast:
“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.”
No release date has been announced for the film just yet, but with production just now getting into gear, we should be expecting an announcement within the next few months.
Are you excited to see what Wingard comes up with for Death Note? Let us know in the comments below! In the meantime, get caught up on our latest Death Note coverage with the following articles:
- ‘The Predator,’ ‘Death Note’ and ‘Okja’ Filming Dates and Locations Revealed
- ‘Death Note’ Movie Heads to Netflix After Being Dropped by Warner Bros.
- Exclusive: ‘Death Note’ Movie Rating and Tone Revealed
- ‘Death Note’: Nat Wolff to Lead Adam Wingard’s Manga Adaptation
- YOU’RE NEXT and THE GUEST Director Adam Wingard to Helm DEATH NOTE