Death Note, the manga series from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, has gone through its share of anime adaptations, light novels, video games, musicals, television dramas, and live action films. It follows the story of a young man named Light who discovers a "death note," a book used by gods of death called shinigami. Light discovers that he can kill anyone anywhere just by writing their name in the book and, unfortunately for the rest of the world, Light is a little bit of a sociopath.
Just like many other works to come from Japan, Death Note will be seeing a somewhat controversial live-action adaptation for Western audiences at some point in 2017 on Netflix. The film will be directed by Adam Wingard of Blair Witch fame and will star big names such as Willem Dafoe and Keith Stanfield. Fantastic Four writer Jeremy Slater wrote a draft of the film's script.
Even though Slater has since left the project to focus on his newest project, The Exorcist, parts of his original script will still be used, though they will likely be reworked a bit by new writer Kyle Killen (Lone Star, Awake). In a recent interview with Collider, Slater discusses his admiration for Wingard as a director and also makes an unlikely comparison between Death Note and the 1995 Michael Mann classic, Heat.
"I think it’s going to be really special, not only because Adam Wingard is such a fabulously talented director, but I think we really found a cool, fun approach to Death Note where we narrowed in on what it is.
It’s the movie Heat, except with teenagers, and one of those teenagers has superpowers. It’s much darker, much funnier, and much more exciting than I think people are anticipating."
Heat, of course, is a dark, serious cat-and-mouse crime thriller in which a criminal mastermind (Robert De Niro) tries to dodge the thwarting plans of a detective (Al Pacino). The two end up having a mutual respect for each other despite being at odds. The comparison between the two could mean the new adaptation of Death Note will be just as gritty, thrilling, and dark as it is meant to be. That would be good news to longtime fans, as the anime and live film adaptations were incredibly engaging and left audiences on the edge of their seat until the very end.
Comparing Death Note to Heat could also mean that fans may be looking at a deviation from the original works, which had their own sense of dark humor mixed in for at least a little bit of relief. Hopefully, 2017's Death Note will give viewers some breathing room and not be an overwhelmingly serious feature. At any rate it will be interesting to see what audiences make of Slater's comparison when the film is finally made available.
Screen Rant will keep you posted as updates for Netflix's Death Note are made available.