Shane Black Directing a New Adaptation of 'Death Note' Manga
After seeing previews for small theatrical screenings of the Japanese live-action adaptations of the popular manga Death Note, I could not have been less interested in checking out the international film trilogy. However, news from Deadline that Shane Black (writer of the Lethal Weapon franchise and director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang) has been hired by Warner Bros. for a new live-action adaptation of the Death Note series. The story follows a boy named Light Yagami who stumbles upon the Death Note, a notebook that delivers death to any human whose name is written on its pages, and vows to use it to rid the word of evil.
For a little more information on the story, here's the official synopsis:
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all 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. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life? Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?
Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry are adapting the manga after working on Doc Savage, an upcoming drama that Black will direct for Sony. Black says, "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." The gritty, film noir feel of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang shows Black has the right sensibilities for a film like this, but that's the only film he's directed. Of course, once being at the top of the spec script market, Black has plenty of experience in Hollywood and I don't doubt his skills one bit. How about you?