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Update: Netflix’s Death Note scriptwriter compares film to Michael Mann’s Heat

Adam Wingard, director of Netflix’s live-action Death Note, dished out some more detail in a recent interview with Collider.

Comparing the tone to The Guest, an action thriller he directed back in 2014, Wingard described Death Note as “a return for me to go back to doing something kind of weird”. Death Note will bring a complementary weirdness to Wingard’s latest effort, Blair Witch – a film he described as more of a mainstream horror.

When asked whether the lack of an age-rating system on Netflix would alter the film’s gore and violence, Wingard made no concessions. He said “we can do whatever we want,” likening the experience of working on the movie to creating a “live-action anime”. He went a step further, citing anime itself as an adult-oriented medium.

Wingard is committed to preserving his film’s adult themes, meaning there’ll be nudity, swearing and “a ton of violence”. Even back when the film was under the Warner Bros. banner, producer Roy Lee of The Ring said it had “zero chance” of receiving below an R-rating from the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

Still, in a separate interview, Fantastic Four scribe Jeremy Slater told Collider that the film aspires to the manga’s “moral complexity”. Drawing similarities to the 1995 Michael Mann movie “Heat, except with teenagers, and one of those teenagers has superpowers”, Slater also notes the film “used quite a bit of my script, as a jumping off point”. He’d penned early drafts for Death Note before he left to work on The Exorcist TV show. Kyle Killen of Lone Star, Awake, and Mind Games has now joined the team for final rewrites.

Jason Eisner, director of grindhouse homage Hobo With a Shotgun, is on board as a second-unit director. As far as his level of involvement, Wingard hinted that the film has “basically like three good Jason Eisner short films in there and they’re all very gory”. He ended by saying, “I think we ended up with a really, kind of nasty and crazy film”. Sure, Death Note is dark and challenging but was it ever nasty – let us know below?

Netflix took on the project back in April, after Warner Bros.’ distribution rights expired. With filming previously set to go ahead in June, and a view to a 2017 release, Keith Stanfield was spotted shooting as L in Vancouver in July. Dan Lin of Sherlock Holmes is producing alongside Lee.

4 Comments on Update: Netflix’s Death Note scriptwriter compares film to Michael Mann’s Heat

  1. Wow! That’s a really bizarre direction for the film to go. I mean wasn’t the whole point of the manga a mental chess game between two people, with a McGuffin plot device (the notebook) setting the events off.

    Not only that, BUT THE MANGA WASN’T EVEN GORY!!!!!!!

    This just feels like the wrong direction – actually it’s beginning too feel like the film makers only read a vague synopsis, and thought;

    “Killer Notebook. Man, we can do gory stuff with it!”

    Like

    • Elisabeth O'Neill // September 21, 2016 at 11:10 am // Reply

      I know, there’s an annoying tendency to take ‘adult’ to mean ‘has lots of sex and violence’. And people who aren’t too familiar with Death Note probably do perceive gore and lewdness that just doesn’t exist, in the manga or the anime. It’s a problem that whenever people looking at anime from the outside, who might have seen or read one or two things, try to interpret it and end up missing most or all of the complexities. It just bolsters all of the negative generalisations around such a rich and beautiful medium.

      One of the scriptwriters has piped up and said the movie wants to stick to the manga’s grey moralities, and I really, really hope that’s true. What I imagine just from reading Wingard’s comments is… disappointing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nudity and violence isn’t what I associate with Death Note. Sounds like once again a western take on anime will miss the point. Fantastic Four was horrible so they should stay away from anything that writer has penned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elisabeth O'Neill // September 22, 2016 at 9:42 am // Reply

      Not at all, seems like it’s in danger of becoming a blindsided killy-nudey thing like Game of Thrones was at its worst. Yeah, saw Fantastic Four for the first time the other day. Reassured that I was never missing much.

      Liked by 1 person

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