After being dropped by Warner Bros. and picked up by Netflix, the upcoming live-action adaptation of Death Note is really shaping up! We’ve known for a while that Nat Wolff (Paper Towns) would be playing the lead and that Adam Wingard (The Guest, a terrific movie) would be directing.
Now, Keith Stanfield and Margaret Qualley are joining the film’s cast. Stanfield showed his impressive acting chops in Short Term 12, where he played a troubled young rapper in a group home for teens, and in Straight Outta Compton, where he played Snoop Dogg.
Fans of Shane Black’s The Nice Guys should recognize Qualley as Amelia, the elusive young woman who sets that film’s detective plot in motion. Funnily enough, Shane Black was once set to direct Death Note before Adam Wingard joined. Black has since moved on to other cool projects, like the next Predator movie and an adaptation of the pulp comic Doc Savage. It would’ve been great to see a cult manga adapted by Black, but Adam Wingard is a solid choice, and should lend a more pronounced horror feel to the film. Fellow horror director and 80s fetishist Jason Eisener (the guy who directed Hobo With a Shotgun) will direct the second unit.
While it’s not currently known what roles Stanfield and Qualley will play in the film, Wolff’s character will be based on Light Yagami, the protagonist from the manga. The plot kicks into gear when Light finds a mysterious notebook called a Death Note that kills anyone whose name is written on its pages. When Light decides to start using the book to kill criminals, he is regarded as a serial killer and tracked down by a reclusive cop (known in the original manga as “L”).
Production will begin shortly on Death Note, which means there’s no time like the present to start reading the manga and checking out that anime series!