Netflix's Death Note was one of the most divisively received live-action adaptations in quite some time, and the writers behind the film explained why it went with a new story. Much of the criticism from fans was due to the fact that the adaptation changed a lot from Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's original Weekly Shonen Jump magazine series, but the film had a turbulent development for several years before it finally ended up with Netflix. Speaking with ComicBook.com about their latest project for Netflix, Blood of Zeus, writers Charley and Vlas Parlapanides opened up about why the film went with this new direction.
As the two explain, much of the film was changed from how they originally envisioned it when they began drafting the project several years before its release. Due to several changes from the director and additional writer Jeremy Slater, the Death Note adaptation ended up being as different as it was because those behind the film felt like it needed to be.
Speaking about the fan response to the film, Vlas Parlapanides stated that the writers had to fulfill a specific mandate, "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."
As he explained further, because of the anime and live-action films already released for the Death Note franchise in Japan, director Adam Wingard felt like this adaptation had to go in a different direction, "There was a Japanese film. There was...the anime. So, that story had been told. So that's why the director said, 'Hey, we've seen this story, let's try to do something different.' But again, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you give people something they want, sometimes you don't..."
Charley and Vlas Parlapanides noted how much had changed from their vision of the film to the final product due to the visions of the director and additional writer Jeremy Slater, but it did ultimately result in a completely new kind of Death Note story. For better or worse, those behind the film accomplished their goal of standing out.
What do you think of Death Note's live-action Hollywood take on Netflix? 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!