Shane Black Onboard To Helm ‘Death Note’ Adaptation

Published 4 years ago by

Shane Black to direct Death Note movie Shane Black Onboard To Helm Death Note Adaptation

Imagine yourself strolling down the street one day and happening upon the notebook of a Shinigami, which allows its user to kill someone by merely writing down their name. What do you do? Well, if you’re Light Yagami from Death Note, you fashion yourself a new identity as a deity and strive to usher in a new world order, devoid of crime and violence… of course.

Warner Bros. is planning a live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese manga/anime series Death Note and has hired Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black to direct the project.

Deadline says that Black will direct Death Note from a script written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry – the duo that collaborated with Black on his big screen treatment of the pulpy magazine hero, Doc Savage, for Sony Pictures. Black is reportedly uncertain as to which of these adaptations he will helm first, but has already confessed his adoration for the original Death Note comic book, which has already been turned into a trilogy of live-action Japanese movies.

Writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata are the creators of the original Death Note series, which revolves around a brilliant teenager – the previously-mentioned Light – who stumbles upon the titular item. Light soon learns that by scribbling down anyone’s name in the mystical Death Note, he can specify exactly how and when they will die. This inspires him to become a vigilante called Kira and rid the streets of thieves, murders, and crooks of all shades. But Light’s quest is soon complicated by L, an equally brilliant FBI profiler who has been recruited by the government to discover Kira’s true identity.

L and Light from Death Note Shane Black Onboard To Helm Death Note Adaptation

L and Light play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse in 'Death Note'.

Black admits that Death Note is a favorite of his and that he plans to “take [the 'Death Note' adaptation] back to that manga, and make it closer to what is so complex and truthful about the spirituality of the story, versus taking the concept and trying to copy it as an American thriller.” That’s good news for fans who have so far been less than impressed with Warner Bros.’ plans concerning its other big screen take on a popular cult Japanese manga/anime series, Akira.

While his previous work has been primarily composed of darkly comic, pulpy crime or action thrillers, Black is a widely respected talent in Hollywood. He made his directorial debut back in 2005 with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a postmodern Noir that helped Robert Downey Jr. resuscitate his career and demonstrated that Black’s talents as a filmmaker were not restricted to screenwriting. He may not be an obvious choice to helm Death Note, but he’s certainly an intriguing and arguably fitting one.

The last we heard about Black’s Doc Savage was back in April 2010 from producer Neal Moritz, but there’s been little progress on the project since. For the time being, it seems more likely that Black will begin pre-production on Death Note first.

Source: Deadline

TAGS: Death note
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  1. I really wish Hollywood would stop trying to adapt classic manga/anime to live-action. Sure, DEATH NOTE has already shown it can work in live-action, but Hollywood had no clue as to how to make a proper adapation.

    • I’d agree except it seems like Black is a legitimate fan. Unlike Dragonball or Speed Racer, which were made by people who honestly didn’t care for the source material, I think Black will at least attempt to keep it accurate. And like you said, it’s already been done in live action, and even if it hadn’t, the story is a lot more grounded in reality than past anime-to-film adaptations, so it lends itself well to a live action format.

      Black’s a fairly competent director, so I’m officially excited for this project.

      • M.Night said he was a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Shall I continue?

        • He wasn’t actually a legit fan though. He caught his daughter watching it or something like that and then he started to become interested in it and the potential it had as a movie. He wasn’t legit interested in Avatar. He wasn’t a die hard fan.

      • You didn’t like Speed Racer?

    • i agree the anime itself will always be better

  2. I’m a fan of manga/anime. After the horrid job done with Dragon Ball I now walk into theaters to see hollywood adaptations of manga/anime with the prediction that it is already a fail. Works out either way for me. If I am right then I have the satisfaction that I successfully predicted how awful it would be. If I am wrong than obviously you can understand that would be a good thing.

  3. I hate anime, it has been destroying the mind of everyone who watches it. i know some people who think “Asian people are superior race”, after watching some anime.

    One of my friends, who in as anime freak told me to watch Death Note. I watched 3 episodes and stopped, because it was way to addicting.i just didnt want to become a crazy asian wanabe freak.

    • So your saying people that watch animes turn into “Crazy Asian Wannabe Freaks”?… How so?

    • “I hate anime, it has been destroying the mind of everyone who watches it. I know some people who think “Asian people are superior race”, after watching some anime.”

      If anime actually made people think like that, even just a small number of people, then it must have been some good anime becuase I’ve watched a lot and never thought that. It’s possible my mind was destroyed before I could think like the people your talking about.

      “One of my friends, who in as anime freak told me to watch Death Note. I watched 3 episodes and stopped, because it was way to addicting. I just didnt want to become a crazy asian wanabe freak.”

      So, because you couldn’t stop watching Death Note you decided to stop watching after only 3 episodes as it made you feel like it was “addicting” and were fearful of becoming a “crazy asian wanabe freak”. Well you succeded in not becoming an asian wannabe.

    • I’m not much of a fan of anime either.(Ninga scrol is deadly though)
      but that comment is a bit much dude
      Your just speaking your mind nothing wrong there, I mean that to But saying crazy asian wanabe freak is a bit insulting to fans of foriegn animation

    • To be honest, I really don’t like anime that much (most of it seems lazily animated, shows with overarcing plots quickly turn into filler-fests, and something about the huge eyes creeps me out). However, when -I- watched 3 episodes of Death Note, I was instantly hooked by the plot, acting, and animation, and it has to be one of the best shows ever created. Learn to stop generalizing, as each type of media has its good and bed spots, and anime is no exception. While it’s good that you actually watched a bit of what you’re criticizing, you shouldn’t lump what are called “weebs” in with people who are simply fans of shows they like. Simply watching a few Schwarzenegger movies won;t cause you to think Austrians are the superior race, and watching some anime won’t turn you into a weeaboo. Give Death Note a shot, you might like it.

  4. I have seen the Japanese movie edition & the anime itself…it was pretty good, especially the 2 main characters. Spot on!

  5. I always liked Anime but I never really got into this series. Maybe the movie will help.

    • yh maybe

  6. I’m excited about this news, but cant wait for any further developments concerning Doc Savage too. Good stuff.

  7. DeathNote quickly became my favorite anime series of all time when I watched it last year. It really is one of the best pieces of fiction ever created and I hope the US film stays true to it and doesnt dumb it down to much

  8. Umm there are already three live action deathnote movies. So the are remaking a live action of a live action that was a remake of an anime? Well……ok…….I guess

    • Did you watch the Japanese Live action trilogy? It was totally different to the anime/manga. Word is the American remake will stay true to the source material.

      • Well if this thing gets made I really hope that Black doesn’t go to direct that “leaked script” that was released a while back, was much as I wished that thing to have been fake, it was apparently a legitimate script from the way WB wanted their “copyrighted” material of the net. Or if they do end up with seriously considering the leaked script, I can only offer a few comments on that front IMHO.
        1.)I really hope that they aren’t seriously considering “Luke Murray” to be the Light Yagami character’s name, hey I understand changing his name for localization but I mean just say it…Luke Murray…gets stuck in the tongue quite easily, seems generic (John Everyman from the USA) and inelegant and unsophisticated for such a brilliant narcissistic God complex afflicted character like Light.
        2.)Instead of Light’s motivation of absolute boredom and disgust with the world and everyone but himself in it, Luke’s motivation will spring from his mother getting gunned down in a robbery thus causing Light-er I mean Luke to use the Death Note to dedicate his life to killing this one criminal throughout the course of the movie…a cliched excuse to get the character on the audience’s sympathy even if he is going around and killing people also its rather Batman-y…so this kind of ruins the “I’m gonna change the world/Become God of the New World!” storyline if the main character never felt that he had the power and willpower to be a God of humanity from the world to begin with. Which leads me to my next point.
        3.) The Luke character is not only a localized version of his Japanese counterpart but also severely watered down for American audiences which I can’t understand why, is their some kind of unwritten law where the main character has to be a good guy through and through? I didn’t really like the script revealed Luke’s evil spiral to be a result of “using the Notebook” aka the notebook is making Luke evil…Why?…I mean sure you could argue that Light was heavily corrupted with the “Kira” persona (I bet that Japanese name will have to change too), but at the end of the day Light was “mentally deranged in a reserved way” from Day 1, and it was because of Light’s ideology that “Death” can be used to quell evil actions as people, as noted in the anime and manga where after “Kira beats L” Light goes on his “reign of terror” and actually manage to reduce the Japanese crime rate by 70%. I liked that both L and Light had conflicting ideologies about how to handle the evils of the world and that like it or not, the villain won that argument and changed the world seemingly for the “better”. But you just ruin the conflicting ideologies point when you have Luke say to the audience, “Killing criminals is wrong and immoral, the power of the evil notebook was causing me to be evil and therefore interesting as the main character (repeatedly throws bricks with the word message out at the audience)”. Luke just doesn’t seem as interesting or as compelling as watching Roman emperor-esque Light Yagami’s rise and fall, to the point that after Luke goes through the memory erase gambit (which gets a little old, when its been done 3 separate times) Luke regains his memories and upon realizing this goes to bury the Death Note in an abandoned cemetery and then proceeds to go practice law….uhhhh…wait what?

  9. I’m actually kind of excited for this. Whoever is cast as Light, I don’t really care, but I hope they cast L well! Not sure if Black is the right guy to adapt it, but at least he likes the series.

  10. I loved Death note. It’s such a good story and what makes it a good story was not the death note, but the dynamic between Light and L. They were both working together to capture Kira, yet L knew that Kira was Light and Light Knew L knew, but couldn’t kill L without figuring his true name. That dynamic kept me so glued to the show that I watched it in two days.

  11. Anime Hollywood Adaptions: Astroboy, Speed Racer, now this.

    …Studio Ghibli doesn’t count.

    This is gonna be a massacre on the anime industry.

  12. Sounds like a great plan! But I love Death Note, so Shane Black better not screw this up, though if he truely ‘adores’ the series the outcome can’t be too bad…Right?


  14. released a rumour that jesse eisenberg is testing for the role of near, and christopher walken is interested in being the voice of ryuk!!!!!!!

    • Good lord

  15. I hope Shane Black will do a great job, this is one of the greatest anime I’ve ever seen, the GREATEST ANIME OF ALL TIME and I dont want to get my hopes ruin. Why do I doubt Shane Black? Uhh…mainly because I think he will cast Raito, L, Misa carelessly, he will not put much in to the uniqueness of every each character when death note have specific cannot take part on Raito’s origin, his from Japan for crying out loud! Why cant american adaptation make better production of the movie by using proper cast!Okay, I think Japanese actors aren’t an option, because not many of them are actually cute as Light, but you can use Korean actors right? Like what you do to The Memoirs of Geisha, Zhang Ziyi is CHINESE.I was thinking of this dude from a Chinese movie, its not really popular, its titled Summer’s Tail, there is a resemblance,check this out:,r:2,s:0&biw=1024&bih=380
    And here’s Light :,r:1,s:0&biw=1024&bih=380
    You just need to died his hair brown!And it will be realistic when the part of Light speak English with an Asian accent!
    And for L is Andrew VanWyngarden :,r:6,s:10&biw=1024&bih=380
    And this is L :,r:0,s:10&biw=1024&bih=380
    See? See the similarity of this two amazing individuals? He looks exactly like him, you just have to died his hair black and covered the redness of his cheeks, boom! Living, walking L. And I’m pretty sure he can be an actor despite his recognition as a pretentious musician, anyone can act right? And for Misa you can use korean actress, like for instance Song Hye Kyo here you go,r:10,s:0&biw=1024&bih=380
    Again, died the hair! Than bleach-blonde look and your ready to go!
    And I strongly recommend the director should be EDGAR WRIGHT who directed Hot Fuzz and Scot Pilgrim vs the World. This is the trailer of Scott Pilgrim :
    His wide exciting angles are amusing to watch, crazy stuff happening on the movie and I like how he adapt the movie according to the purpose of the comic book, but equally thrown his creativity to take the story to THE NEXT LEVEL, put an edge in to it without changing the foundation of the story. Yeah, I know the movie is too fun or whatever but the angle are spectacular and I think he can manage to relive the suspense-thriller-action-drama which is death note. The Japanese live-action didn’t quite satisfied, to many twisted plot and doesn’t have the death note aura. I don’t felt the narcissistic-God wannabe appeal from him and he looks rather outgoing for someone as serious as Raito. And Kenichi, I love him but sorry his Japanese, and L is from France right?Tsugumi stated that”I think of him as a quarter Japanese, a quarter English, a quarter Russian, a quarter French or Italian, like that”
    But why L(Kenichi Matsuyama) is only part Japanese? His cute, but his just too cute. L is more sexy, seductive, mysterious, and slightly evil.
    And about Mello and Near, they could just cast new people. Find a real kid with white blonde hair!

  16. oh my god ther making a move i hope it terns out good unlike dragon ball

  17. Hollywood always tries to in other words kill anime. I feel as long as M.Night Shamala isn’t on it, it should be Okay, but it will certainly bring out anger if something isn’t correct by the large fans who have watched the anime, read the manga, and watched the Animated movies. The might say they want to open the movie to give others a taste of it, but it’s not gunna go down good with the fans who’ve clung to the anime. Some where even upset with the Japanese live action death note for skipping parts, why would HollyWood think they could do better, when the characters in death note aren’t even Asian? (When all the characters are clearly Japanese!)
    In short… Hollywood should stop killing the Anime for people who actually watch it, just leave us Anime-watchers alone, and Stop provoking Anime watchers annoyance with people they cast in the movies…

    • What all of you fail to realize is the film industry makes movies to make money. They aren’t worried about the millions of Anime fans liking or disliking a film. Millions of non anime film viewers will go see the film and that’s where they will make there money. I guarantee I will go see it as I’m not a big anime fan but I loved the Japanese Live action version since I saw that before the Anime version. What I will hate about it will be that instead of using Asian actors they will go with Caucasian American actors.

      Peace; Love; Harmony!

  18. Hollywood needs to stop trying to adapt manga and sticks with their comics.
    And maybe give the money to asian’s production companies to adapt it with asian’s cast.

  19. *Manga