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Gus Van Sant Rumored to Take Over for Shane Black on 'Death Note'

by
July 11, 2014
Source: Tracking Board

Death Note

It's been over three years since Iron Man 3 director Shane Black was attached to direct an adaptation of the popular Japanese manga Death Note. But that was before he knocked the Marvel sequel out of the park, and picked up a slew of new projects after the film became a huge success. Now it seems Warner Bros. is trying to line up a new filmmaker behind the camera as The Tracking Board has learned that Gus Van Sant is in talks to hop in the director's chair. This should be considered rumor for now, especially after the source's mishandling of the news about Tina Fey not doing a sequel to Hocus Pocus, and it does sound odd.

Van Sant has never really taken on a project like this where he's adapting material with a loyal and large fanbase. Perhaps the projects closest in comparison would be his shot-for-shot remake of Psycho or maybe his movie about Kurt Cobain, Last Days. For those who aren't familiar with Takeshi Obata's manga, 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?

The script is still coming from Shane Black, who co-wrote the film with Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry (who were all teaming on the developing Doc Savage as well), so his mark will still be left on the film. His writing style seems perfect to bring this adaptation of Death Note to audiences in the United States, but that might not necessarily end up being appealing to Japanese audiences. Of course, they've already seen an anime series, two live-action films, and a movie spin-off in Japan, so at this point they probably expect anything. Despite not being confirmed, this report seems solid with Black just taking on a pseudo-reboot of Predator, but we'll see if Van Sant really ends up with the job. Thoughts?

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  • Christina
    If the cast is white-washed I'm automatically not watching it.
    • HG2012
      they can do whatever they want it is called an adaption if japan can do a japan only unforgiven i dont see the problem at all just look at departed an american infernal affairs
      • Boiler Bro Joe
        Well Asian Americans can't really go anywhere else to see Asian Americans on screen, so it'd be nice if this cast had a few, especially since they'll be a sizable percentage of the existing audience. The Japanese movies were awesome. In those Light was essentially the villain, so it'll be interesting to see if our anti-hero obsessed film industry will take Light's side or the side of the non-vigilante justice system.
  • DAVIDPD
    One of the best animes out there. Van Sant is an interesting pick. Will follow this one closely.

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