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A Death Note for Shane Black

The Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director gets his hands on a sizable Japanese property

By Chris Beveridge     January 13, 2011
Source: Deadline Hollywood

© N/A

Deadline Hollywood has the goods on what's going on with the live action Death Note adaptation for the U.S. market that's been percolating for awhile. News broke today that director Shane Black, whose directorial debut and sole directorial credit was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, has been tapped to handle the project. The script for it is being done by  Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry who are also working with Black for his another feature that's dueling with this one as to which will go into production first, Doc Savage

“It’s my favorite manga, I was just struck by its unique and brilliant sensibility,” Black said. “What we want to do is take it 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. Jeff Robinov and Greg Silverman liked that.”

Check the history for Shane Black over at Deadline Hollywood where you can see how he began with his first script for Lethal Weapon being picked up while just out of UCLA and on to the film that helped get Robert Downey Jr. back into the mainstream.

Death Note stared out as a manga that ran from 2003-2006 with twelve volumes in total in Japan which then spawned a thirty-seven episode TV series as well as a few games and anime film compilations. A series of three live action films in Japan were also done with all three released here in the US through Warner Bros. and Viz Cinema. As of the end of 2008, reports indicate that the twelve volumes from the manga series had sold in excess of  26,500,000 copies.

Plot summary: Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. That changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. Will Light's noble goal succeed, or will the Death Note turn him into the very thing he fights against?

Thanks to AntoBlueberry for the submission.

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Calibur454 1/13/2011 10:58:03 AM

this is something that has promise to be a great crossover but it could also be a curse if it is successful by getting imitators following the trend by making more manga live action that should be left alone. It ought to be interesting to see what happens when hollywood takes notice

Wiseguy 1/13/2011 11:28:07 AM

I make it known every chance I get how much I dislike anime/manga overall. But there are a few properties that I have liked, the exceptions to the rule I guess. Deathnote is one of them, I caught most but not all of the anime on cartoon network a while back and I really liked it. Meant to catch the movie that played on some theaters as 1 or 2 night event but didn't make it. So I can definitely get behind this adaptation

Now I totally dug and loved Kiss Kiss Bang Bang so I hope Black can pull it off but you really cxan't make any assumptions because it's just such a different animal he's tackling. His writing credits though may bode well in the end.


calibur, don't take offense at this but I find that to be such an elitist and pompous statement. Why should manga or anime or Marve or DC not be adapted to another format where it can be seen and reach millions that otherwise would not bother or even be aware of it? Does it take anything away from the comic or the anime itself? If you enjoyed it you can keep enjoying it. It strikes me like those LOTR fans, the ones that speak elvish, that didn't want the movie because everyone should read it or otherwise they're not true fans.

monkeyfoot 1/13/2011 12:34:42 PM

Never heard of the book, but damn that's a great story idea! Kind of Twilight Zone. Look forward to seeing this done well.

ultrazilla2000 1/13/2011 5:12:25 PM

Looking forward to a U.S. version of Death Note.  I usually don't get behind U.S. remakes of perfectly good original properties, but for some reason I think this could benefit, especially with special effects.  I just hope the death gods look somewhat the same as their original incarnations in design.

Calibur454 1/13/2011 7:55:38 PM

Wise no offense taken but you missunderstand what I'm trying to say. Remember when Twilight first hit and then all the Vampire tv shows started coming out of the woodwork- a couple of them good most bad.

That is what I mean. They just want to cash in on the trend. I dont mind having comics and manga getting into other formats in fact I look forwartd to it buts lets not just see dollar signs that is what I am saying. I'd rather see a few good titles come out and let them be very sucdcessful instead of a whole lot of them flopping like led ballons

Hell I myself wouldn't mind seeing a live action Flcl or evangelion. if it is done the right way.

To put it another way. condider the video game market. - Most if not all of them have been pretty bad-with the exception of hitman which i thought was pretty decent- yet the games that most people want to see havent been made into movies yet. aka splinter cell Halo etc. Do you see what I mean now..

@monkeyfoot- There is a lot of text to the story but reading the deathnote manga series is definetly worth it- or if you have netflix check it out from there. It is one heck of a ride

Wiseguy 1/14/2011 5:04:53 AM

OK I got you now Calibur. That's one of the unfortunate consequences of success though because you're right if it's successful there will be many copycats trying to catch in on the trend. It's the same thing that's happening with 3D, everyone wants a piece of the pie and don't care that by doing it cheaply it's only hurting the format in the long run.


GSSCHAN2000 1/14/2011 12:09:49 PM

this will suck. it was a great live action 2 part movie from japan.it doesn't need to be redone.

Calibur454 1/14/2011 4:15:45 PM

um gschan deathnote was done in 3 installments from japan if i remember right. there was a two part released in blu ray but a trilogy box set hasnt been released for some reason

@wise- no problem dude

GSSCHAN2000 1/17/2011 4:33:22 AM

actually the 3rd movie is a prequel. its about 1 of the other guy's,not light,cases before the deathnote story.



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