Whenever Hollywood announces plans to adapt an anime, bad things seem to follow. Films like Dragonball Evolution and Ghost in the Shell continue to prove how little western studios get anime. Controversial cultural shifts and whitewashed casts are just some of the problems which plague live-action anime projects. Recently, Netflix learned how brutal the pushback is after footage of its live-action Death Note film dropped. And, now, the movie’s director is taking time to clarify some rumors about the film.
Taking to Twitter, Adam Wingard recently went on a tweet spree about Death Note. After responding to one fan’s concerns about his movie’s lack of Asian talent, Wingard had the following to say:
“There is no conspiracy to remove Japanese culture from Death Note. Its a fresh version of the story set in Seattle. Also see The Departed. When moving the setting of Death Note to America we of course made the movie about America. Its not just a copy and paste situation here,” Wingard wrote.
“Actors for DN were all picked based on the new version of these characters.They are different than the Original characters, esp Light,” the director continued. “In an early interview I mentioned Death Note having gore nudity and swearing. Non of it is gratuitous or focus point of the film. What I was trying to illustrate is we werent being forced into making a watered down Dragonball pg cheese fest.”
There’s a lot to unpack in Wingard’s defense, but fans have so far latched onto two points. For one, the director hints that his take on Death Note is not the same as what fans already know. The Netflix movie may be most loosely based on the original series than the more direct adaptation fans were anticipating.
As for his second takeaway, Wingard made sure to clarify a point about Death Note’s tone. The director previously said he was not afraid to insert nudity or gore into the film, and Wingard stands by the statement. However, the film will not focus on shocking fans unnecessarily. In his tweets, Wingard explains his comment was meant to pacify fans who felt a live-action Death Note film would be watered down like Dragonball Evolution. So, if fans take the director for his word, they don’t have to worry about Death Note being as laughably bad as its predecessor.
You can read up on live-action adaptation’s synopsis as well:
What if you had the power to decide who lives and who dies? We suggest you obey the rules. Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone's name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.
Death Note will be available to stream on Netflix beginning August 25, 2017.
You can also read up on Viz Media’s synopsis of Death Note here: “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 Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But will Light succeed in his noble goal, or will the Death Note turn him into the very thing he fights against?”