Wingard says Death Note will be a “fun, crazy movie.”
[dropcap size=small]D[/dropcap]irector Adam Wingard is currently taking on the challenge of turning one of the most popular anime and manga series into a live-action Netflix movie release.
Wingard’s adaptation of Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba’s Death Note is reportedly now in the post-production stage of development, and stars Nat Wolff (Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns) as the lead protagonist, Light Turner (better known as Light Yagami in the original series).
Aside from the extensive cast list (which includes the likes of Willem Defoe as the voice of Ryuk, and Straight Outta Compton star Keith Stanfield as “L”), we haven’t heard much about the project as a whole, or what we can expect from this take on the popular anime.
In an interview with Steven Weintraub (Collider), Wingard offered a little insight into the adaptation, and revealed that the project has allowed for a lot of creative freedom thanks to the nature of it being a non-rated Netflix release.
As such, they won’t be holding back on including adult themes such as violence, nudity and swearing, as Wingard explains:
“We can do whatever we want. That was the cool thing about it, because it’s an anime film. So, technically, it’s a cartoon that you’re bring[ing] to life. To me, the thing about anime is that it’s so adult-oriented. I remember going to Suncoast growing up and you see Akira there with the little “Not for Kids” sticker on it. That always made an impact on me. So, doing my first live-action anime thing, to me it was important that you have those adult themes. So, it’s got nudity, it’s got swearing, it’s got a ton of violence.
With a “ton of violence”, Wingard went on to reveal the involvement of Hobo with a Shotgun director, Jason Eisener, who’s working on the adaptation as a second-unit director:
Jason Eisener, who did Hobo with a Shotgun. I brought him on – I’m good friends with him – as second-unit director. There’s basically like three good Jason Eisner short films in there and they’re all very gory. I was able to just turn him loose sometime, and just do some crazy stuff.”
Wingard, who just finished working on Blair Witch, also explained Death Note will have a feel which is similar in tone to The Guest, and described the project as a “genre mash-up”.
The Director is best known for his work on the suspense-filled gore-fest, You’re Next, so he’s no stranger when it comes to the horror/thriller genre. Hopefully his past relationship with the genre will lend itself to the adaptation, and bring us something interesting.
Death Note certainly does explore very adult themes throughout, and isn’t one to shy away from including blood and violence. But what makes the series so great is the sophisticated, complex, character-driven plot, which is executed in a slick and darkly atmospheric style.
There’s always the risk that including a “ton of violence” will take away any real substance from the movie, so we hope that doesn’t happen in this case.
Hobo with a Shotgun had plenty of gory moments – with hobo Rutger Hauer pumping shotgun shells into various criminals – so with Eisener on board, some gory bloodshed in some way, shape or form is pretty much guaranteed. Let’s just hope it’s not quite so over the top.
Death Note already has several live-action adaptations under its belt over in Japan, with the first being released back in 2006 at the height of the anime series’ popularity. Wingard’s adaptation will be the first English-language version, which will take it to a more global audience, and no doubt fans will be interested to see just what Wingard – and his no-holds-barred creativity – will bring to the table.
Netflix’s Death Note is set for release sometime in 2017.