Death Note (2017 film)

Death Note
Directed by Adam Wingard
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Death Note
by Tsugumi Ohba (story) and Takeshi Obata (art)
Cinematography David Tattersall
Edited by Louis Cioffi
Distributed by Netflix
Release dates
  • 2017 (2017)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40-$50 million

Death Note is an upcoming American film directed by Adam Wingard, based on the manga series of the same name by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. The film will star Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Keith Stanfield, Paul Nakauchi, Shea Whigham, and Willem Dafoe. The film is planned for a 2017 release.[1]


A young man comes to possess a supernatural notebook, the Death Note, that grants him the power to kill any person simply by writing down their name on the pages. He then decides to use the notebook to kill criminals and change the world, but an enigmatic detective attempts to track him down and end his reign of terror.[2]



In 2007, the Malaysian paper The Star stated that more than ten film companies in the United States had expressed interest in the Death Note franchise.[3] The American production company Vertigo Entertainment was originally set to develop the remake, with Charley and Vlas Parlapanides as screenwriters and Roy Lee, Doug Davison, Dan Lin, and Brian Witten as producers.[4] On April 30, 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros., the distributors for the original Japanese live-action films, had acquired the rights for an American remake, with the original screenwriters and producers still attached.[5] In 2009, Zac Efron responded to rumors that he would be playing the film's lead role by stating that the project was "not on the front burner".[6] On January 13, 2011, it was announced that Shane Black had been hired to direct the film, with the script being written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry.[7] Warner's studios planned to change the background story of Light Yagami into one of vengeance instead of justice and to remove Shinigami from the story. Black opposed this change, and it had not been green-lit.[8] Black confirmed in a 2013 interview with Bleeding Cool that he was still working on the film.[9] In July 2014, it was rumored that Gus Van Sant would replace Black as the film's new director, with Dan Lin, Doug Davison, Roy Lee and Brian Witten producing through Vertigo Entertainment, Witten Pictures and Lin Pictures.[10]

On April 27, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Adam Wingard would direct the film, that Lin, Lee, Jason Hoffs and Masi Oka would produce, and that Niija Kuykendall and Nik Mavinkurve would oversee the studio.[11] On September 29, 2015, Nat Wolff was cast in the lead role.[12] On November 12, 2015, Margaret Qualley joined the film as the female lead.[13] Producers have stated the film will receive an R rating.[14] In April 2016, TheWrap reported that because Warner Bros. had decided to make fewer films, the studio put the film into turnaround but allowed Wingard to take the project elsewhere. Within 48 hours, Wingard was reportedly approached by nearly every major film studio.[15] On April 6, 2016, it was confirmed that Netflix had bought the film from Warner Bros. with a budget of $40-$50 million and a recent draft of the script being written by Jeremy Slater. Production officially began in British Columbia on June 30, 2016, overseen by DN (Canada) Productions, Inc.[16][17][18][19][20] In June 2016, Keith Stanfield joined the cast.[21] On June 30, 2016, it was announced that Paul Nakauchi and Shea Whigham had joined the cast.[1] On August 2, 2016, Willem Dafoe was announced to voiced the Shinigami Ryuk.[22]

Early casting announcements, similar to other Hollywood productions based on Japanese manga such as Dragonball Evolution and Ghost in the Shell, generated controversy over the race of the lead actors.[23][24] In response, producers Roy Lee and Dan Lin stated that "Our vision for Death Note has always been 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.”[20] Oka announced that he also has a role in the film.[25]


  1. 1 2 Barkan, Jonathan (June 30, 2016). "Adam Wingard Starts Writing His 'Death Note'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  2. Schwerdtfeger, Conner (April 8, 2016). "Netflix Sets Sights On Supernatural Manga Adaptation Of Death Note". Cinemablend. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  3. Kitty Sensei (January 14, 2007). "Here're a few hints of the second and concluding part of Death Note the movie, The Last Name". The Star. Archived from the original on August 2, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
  4. "Warner Brothers Acquire Live-Action Death Note Rights". Anime News Network. May 1, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  5. Fleming, Michael (April 30, 2009). "Warner brings 'Death' to bigscreen". Variety. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  6. Weintraub, Steve (November 22, 2009). "Exclusive Interview: Zac Efron and Richard Linklater on ME AND ORSON WELLES; Plus Zac Addresses DEATH NOTE Rumors". Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  7. Fleming, Mike Jr (January 13, 2011). "Warner Bros Taps Shane Black For Japanese Manga 'Death Note'". Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  8. Loo, Egan (November 2, 2011). "Shane Black Describes Changes He Opposed to Warner's Death Note". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  9. Connelly, Brendon (April 24, 2013). "Shane Black On His Death Note And Doc Savage Movies". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  10. Whitehead, Donna (July 10, 2014). "{TB EXCLUSIVE} Gus Van Sant Takes Over "Death Note"". The Tracking Board. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  11. Kit, Borys (April 27, 2015). "'Guest' Director Adam Wingard Signs On for 'Death Note' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  12. White, James (September 29, 2015). "Nat Wolff Finds Death Note | News | Empire". Empire. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  13. Fleming, Mike Jr; Hipes, Patrick (November 12, 2015). "'Death Note' Movie Sets Margaret Qualley As Female Lead – Update". Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  14. Goldberg, Matt (February 22, 2015). "Exclusive: 'Death Note' Movie Rating and Tone Revealed". Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  15. Sneider, Jeff (April 6, 2016). "Adam Wingard's 'Death Note' Jumps From Warner Bros. to Netflix (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  16. Kroll, Justin (April 6, 2016). "Netflix Lands Adam Wingard's 'Death Note' Starring Nat Wolff". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  17. "In Production". Creative BC. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  18. Mirchandani, Amar (June 3, 2016). "Live-Action Manga Movie 'Death Note' Filming in Vancouver". 604 Now. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  19. Idea, Nimfa (June 8, 2016). "'Death Note' Live Action Pic: Netflix Set to Kick Off Production in Metro Vancouver This Summer". Movie News Guide. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  20. 1 2 Trumbore, Dave (June 30, 2016). "Adam Wingard Shares His Notes on 'Death Note' as Production Begins". Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  21. Kroll, Justin (June 10, 2016). "'Short Term 12's' Keith Stanfield to Star With Nat Wolff in Netflix's 'Death Note'". Variety. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  22. Sneider, Jeff (August 2, 2016). "Willem Dafoe to voice the Shinigami in Netflix's 'Death Note' (Exclusive)". Mashable. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  23. Leon, Melissa (September 30, 2015). "Hollywood's Anime Whitewashing Epidemic: Nat Wolff to Star in 'Death Note'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  24. Jaworski, Michelle (November 13, 2015). "'Death Note' whitewashing accusations grow as it casts female lead". The Daily Dot. Retrieved April 10, 2016.
  25. Abrams, Natalie (November 17, 2016). "Hawaii Five-0: Masi Oka exiting after seven seasons — exclusive". Entertainment Weekly.

External links

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