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Writer/director Shane Black will be sitting in the director’s chair for an upcoming English-language adaptation of the popular manga Death Note for Warner Bros. His Doc Savage partners Charles Mondry and Anthony Bagarozzi are writing the script. Black is perhaps most famous for his scripting ventures, particularly his $250K payday for the script for the original Lethal Weapon and The Long Kiss Goodnight, which nabbed him a then-record $4 million. The manga focuses on a young man named Light who stumbles upon a book that will kill people whose names are written inside of it.
Fans of Death Note might be skeptical — and with good reason: multiple adaptations – most notably an award-winning trilogy of live-action films in Japan — already exist, and film adaptations can horrifically stray from source material, in this case, an “Americanization” of the manga.
However, an American treatment could work surprisingly well and introduce a new and otherwise uninterested audience to the source material. Additionally Black has proven to be great at handling dark comedy – something that Death Note heavily features – with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
He also had this to say to Deadline Hollywood:
“It’s my favorite manga, I was just struck by its unique and brilliant sensibility. 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.”
Sounds like quite the ambitious project. Unfortunately, it’s currently unknown when this project will get off the ground.