Western remakes of Japanese films were quite popular around the early 2000’s. Films like Ringu and One Missed Call have all been remade, with varying degrees of success, and now 2017 has continued this filmmaking pattern with Rings and…Death Note.
Death Note is a popular manga series that was first released in 2003. It follows student Light Yagami as he discovers a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone by writing writes their name into the book. He decides to use this book to rid the world of criminals.
The manga has spawned an anime series, merchandising and two parter japanese live-action films, as well as a spin-off film. And now it looks like America are getting in on the Death Note action too!
Let’s have a look at what we know about the Western remake so far:
The director for the Death Note remake is Adam Wingard. If you don’t recognize his name, then you’ll definitely recognize his filmography: You’re Next, The Guest, V/H/S 1 & 2 and the recent Blair Witch. These titles have a pretty solid following and have become popular cult films. This does make me think this remake could be good and is the main reason why it caught my attention and has kept my interest.
Death Note is rumoured to be R rated (15). Despite this being a rumour, it would be good to have an R rated live action film because it would mean it could follow the storyline much closer than if it was a PG-13 (12A), and the film wouldn’t need to hold back on any content. A recent example of this is the live-action Ghost in the Shell, which is an adaptation of another popular anime franchise. This adaptation is a PG-13 film, which is in contrast to the source material, which was R rated. However, we have yet to see if this will hurt the overall quality of that film.
Ryuk is a Shinigami (a Death God), and the original owner of Light’s Death Note. The first piece of news that was released about the upcoming adaptation was that Willem DaFoe would be providing the voice for the Death God. I personally think this is a perfect casting choice for the character.
Firstly, some names are being changed to more Western-style names. Light Turner (Light Yagami as he’s known in the manga and anime) is being played by Nat Wolff, who is known for his roles in Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns.
From looking at his IMDb filmography, it doesn’t look like he’s been in any action or mystery/thriller films before, which could be a cause for concern. However, I’m keeping an open mind on this one because he could turn out to be good as Light. We will have to wait for a trailer, or maybe even for the film itself is released to find out.
L is the detective placed in charge of putting Light’s murderous actions to an end. In the remake, he will be played by Lakeith Stanfield (Straight Outta Compton). This is an odd casting choice mainly due to appearance, but Lakeith Stanfield could be turn out to be a great casting choice for the quirky detective. However, because we are yet to see any trailer or the film itself, fans will just have to wait and see.
The Death Note remake is scheduled for a release in 2017 (yes, this year!) and is currently in the post-production stage. Worringly, a poster or trailer haven’t been released yet, and even a release month hasn’t been revealed either. However, I have discovered that it will be a Netflix Original film which, again, could either be a good thing or bad thing.
Overall, I am cautiously interested in this project. Western anime remakes haven’t really had a good reputation so far. However the rating, director and Willem DaFoe’s involvement does have me slightly more excited for this. At the same time though, I do also feel abit wary about this project: I haven’t forgotten about The Last Airbender and Dragonball: Evolution.
What are your thoughts on the Death Note American Remake?