Last April, word got out that a live-action American version of the manga and anime series Death Note was being planned at Warner Bros., with Adam Wingard directing from a script written by Jeremy Slater. Casting began on the project, and all indications pointed to filming beginning this year for a likely 2017 release.
Unfortunately, the Death Note adaptation seems to be one of the casualties of Warner Bros.’ rumored desire to cut back on non-franchise releases, so it can focus on its franchise properties. That doesn’t mean that adaptation is dead, however; word is that the film will be picked up by Netflix for a streaming debut.
According to The Wrap, Netflix is currently in negotiations to secure the rights to the film. Wingard remains attached to direct, and stars Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley are still attached to the film as well. Once the deal is finalized, Netflix reportedly wants to add War Machine star Keith Stanfield to the cast as well (though he has not received an official offer to join the cast as yet).
A number of studios were reportedly interested in picking up Death Note after Warner Bros. decided to let it go, with the head of pretty much every major studio making contact within 48 hours of Warner giving Wingard the go-ahead to shop the film around. Netflix is said to have asked Wingard to enter exclusive negotiations with the service, helping to ensure that another studio wouldn’t steal the project away while negotiations were ongoing. Warner Bros. has supposedly been very supportive during the negotiation process.
For those not familiar with Death Note, the film will follow Wolff’s character, a teenage boy who finds a notebook with the ability to kill anyone whose name is written in it. If successful, the film certainly has franchise potential as there have been three live-action Japanese Death Note films to date and a fourth is due out later this year. Assuming that the Netflix deal goes through, the film will be one of the streaming company’s highest-profile original films.
Some fans are likely disappointed that Netflix is picking up the movie instead of one of the other studios, but there’s likely little cause for worry. Netflix has shown that it can handle more adult fare with some of its other originals, and Death Note will fit in well with its more mature content. If it proves popular, then we can assume that sequels may follow as well, likely also debuting on Netflix.
Death Note was slated to begin filming in 2016, though it remains to be seen whether this schedule will remain as the film shifts from Warner Bros. to Netflix.
Source: The Wrap