Shane Black Adapting Japanese Manga Death Note
Lots of comic books mixed in with your movie news today. The latest concerns Shane Black, who famously coined the phrase “Wolfman’s got nards!” in his script for The Monster Squad. He also wrote The Last Boy Scout and wrote/directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The man knows his action.
Now he’s got his second directing gig lined up: Warner Bros tapped Black to oversee a live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Death Note, Deadline reports. Created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata, the series has done quite well for itself outside of Japan, with 38 million copies of the series’ 12 trade paperbacks sold to date worldwide. The script will come from Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry, whom Black is also working with on Doc Savage for Sony. Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Brian Witten will produce Death Note.
The story follows Light, a young student who comes to possess a magical notebook which kills anyone whose name is written inside it. Neat, right? Light foolishly decides to use his newfound powers for good and sets out to rid the streets of crime, one ill-gotten name at a time. The deaths Light causes put him in the sights of a famed FBI criminal profiler known only as L. See, he doesn’t know the guy’s name so he can’t actually off him. Clever, G-man. Very clever.
Death Note is popular enough in Japan to have spawned an animated TV series, novels and video games, as well as a trilogy of films released by WB Japan. Will Black be able to sell it to American audiences? I hope so. The idea sounds cool and Black has plenty of cache among the action geeks of the world.