Netflix's Death Note Writers Reveal How Much Changed from Original Draft

Before finally making its debut on Netflix, the Western live-action Death Note adaptation had been in the works for several years. It had seen many changes and rewrites before the final product, but those who worked on it through the years were still credited with the final work. recently got a chance to talk about the Death Note film with two of the writers, Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, as they currently have a brand new anime related project releasing with Netflix and we had to ask about what kind of changes had been made to the film over the years.

Charley Parlapanides opened by really cementing how long he and his brother Vlas had been attached to the live-action Death Note, "[T]he one thing I would say is that we were in on Death Note back in 2006, reading bootleg copies of the PDFs online that had the American translation and our original drafts were more true to what the story is."

Breaking it down, Parlapanides revealed how they approached the work in the first place, " thing that we always pitched for Death Note is that when you start reading Death Note, you believe Light is the hero. And you think like, 'Oh yeah, I'm with this guy.' And then what I believe you fundamentally find out is that really L is the hero." But this was only the beginning of a foundation for something later.

"[W]hat we always wanted to bring to that is that you set it up almost like a Western Marvel movie where you see this incident of the things we added was that Light's mom is killed. So you feel he's justified in doing what he's going to do." The changes begin from this different perspective, "But then, what we had in our version was that his girlfriend finds out that he has the book and she tells him, 'If you don't stop, I'm going to turn you in.'"

In fact, Charley and Vlas Parlapanides originally planed for their version of Light to kill off his girlfriend (Margaret Qualley's Mia Sutton) and move forward, "[You] think he's going to be the heroic guy and do the right thing. But instead, what he does is he kills her to silence her so he can continue on. Now what they did in later drafts, and what they ended up changing was that they made her, it's almost like what we call the 'Richie of Preol.' They made her even more of a bad guy than the protagonist to make him seem more heroic."

But while there were changes made by additional writer Jeremy Slater and director Adam Wingard, the Parlapanides brothers emphasized how there was no bad blood. As Charley stated, "...[After] we worked on it, a lot of other writers worked on it. And it was much more of Slater's draft that became the final film and again, it's a choice of the director to steer the story the way he wants to steer it. And that's a great property."


Vlas Parlapanides then had one final message for the fans disappointed by the film, "We're saddened that the fans didn't like it. We want them to be happy. We want them to like it. All writers want that. And I think that Jeremy Slater did a good job, but, he had a very specific mandate and we're disappointed by the reception because we wanted to, again, give the fans something that they would like, but we also understand where they were coming from."

What did you think of the live-action Death Note film on Netflix? Curious to see what's going to come from the second attempt at the franchise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or you can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!