Adam Wingard Will Put His Stamp on ‘Death Note’

Death Note Ryuk Adam Wingard

Death Note, the horrifying manga/anime/live-action movie series that makes you either feel really stupid or ridiculously smart, is finally getting the American treatment, only six years after Warner Bros. first bought the remake rights. 

In the years that followed, several top flight filmmakers circled the project, including Shane Black (Iron Man Three) and Gus Van Sant (Elephant). Now, Hollywood Reporter indicates that director Adam Wingard has signed up for Death Note, after directing the acclaimed horror thrillers You’re Next and The Guest, both of which wound up on CraveOnline’s list of the Top 50 Movies of the Decade (So Far)

For those who haven’t read it, haven’t seen the movies or never had access to Adult Swim, Death Note is the tale of Light Yagami, a teenager who finds a mysterious book labeled “Death Note.” He soon discovers that anyone whose name he writes down in the book will die shortly thereafter, prompting him to become a worldwide bogeyman on the run from a teenaged detective prodigy named “L.” He also is forced to befriend the demon attached to the Death Note, Ryuk, who has a thing for apples.

Related: The 50 Best Movies of the Decade (So Far)

The core premise behind Death Note is almost absurdly simple (despite the unusual side characters), but the bulk of the storylines in the manga, anime and live-action films revolves around Light learning how to bend the rules of the Death Note to achieve his wicked ends. Seriously, Death Note gets absurdly complicated. There’s probably more exposition in any five pages of Death Note than in the entirety of Interstellar.

But Wingard has a knack for making strange premises sing on camera, although the report is unclear as to whether he will bring his longtime screenwriter Simon Barrett on board to adapt Death Note. The previous draft of the remake was penned by Jeremy Slater, whose only previous credit, The Lazarus Effect, was pretty darned bad. He’s also one of three credited screenwriters on the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, although whether that movie is any good – and if so, how much of it actually has to do with Slater’s contributions – is heretofore unknown.


William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and the host of The B-Movies Podcast and The Blue Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.