Adam Wingard’s ‘Death Note’ Moves From Warner Bros. to Netflix
Even more eyebrow-raising news from Warner Bros. following reports that the studio is looking to decrease the number of films they release each year: Death Note, the forthcoming adaptation of the hit Japanese manga, is moving over to Netflix, as the streaming service is in late-stage negotiations to take the project off of WB’s hands.
Via The Wrap, You’re Next director Adam Wingard was set to begin production on Death Note when Warner Bros. got cold feet about the project. Since Wingard had been developing the project for some time, the studio allowed him to take the film elsewhere. The report interestingly (and perhaps unsurprisingly) notes that “within 48 hours, nearly every studio head had reached out to meet with Wingard.”
Based on the Japanese manga, Death Note centers on a high school student who discovers a mysterious notebook that grants him the dangerous ability to kill anyone by merely writing their name in its pages. Nat Wolff will play the teen, who attempts to use his newfound power for good and inevitably attracts the attention of a clever detective. The Leftovers’ Margaret Qualley also stars in the film, which is eyeing Straight Outta Compton’s Keith Stanfield for a supporting role.
This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. has backed out of a Wingard film — the studio previously dropped his thriller Dead Spy Running, which would re-team Wingard with You’re Next and The Guest scribe Simon Barrett.
All of this comes on the heels of reports that WB is looking to decrease their film output, but the studio’s hesitance with darker genre adaptations isn’t new. It is, however, strange given that they put so much money and faith into Zack Snyder’s remarkably bleak Batman v Superman while they continue to shy away from other “edgy” material. Meanwhile, WB shuttled adaptations of Stephen King’s It and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman over to their New Line banner, cutting budgets for projects they deemed more risky — and losing both Cary Fukunaga from It and Joseph Gordon-Levitt from Sandman in the process.
And like Fukunaga and Gordon-Levitt, Wingard is both passionate and confident in his vision. Whatever is happening over at WB is entirely baffling, but hopefully Netflix will allow Wingard the platform to deliver the film he has in mind.