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Followers of Japanese manga and anime will no doubt be aware that Death Note has been a highly successful franchise. The story has been made into a series of movies that were big hits here in Japan as well as a musical that was performed at the Nissei Theater in Tokyo this month, and there’s also a TV drama scheduled for broadcast in July this year.

But that’s not all. We still have the Hollywood live action film of Death Note to look forward to, and the recent news is that the movie now has a new director!

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Fans of the Death Note series should be glad to hear that the long-awaited Hollywood film version will now be directed by Adam Wingard, known as the director of scream-worthy cult horror flicks such as The Guest and You’re Next. It’s already been seven years since we first started hearing about a Hollywood adaptation of Death Note, with the prospective director changing several times during that period from Shane Black (Iron Man 3) to Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) and now to Wingard, so hopefully the announcement means the project is making progress.

We still may have to wait a little while longer for the finished movie, though, as Wingard will apparently be directing another film, The Woods, before starting work on Death Note.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Death Note, originally written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata,  is the story of student prodigy Light Yagami, who quite by accident stumbles upon a notebook belonging to a Death God. The supernatural notebook allows its owner to kill anyone by simply writing the person’s name in it, and eventually Light becomes obsessed with using the notebook to rid the world of evil and become its new ruler. With its stunning artwork and unique (if at times controversial) storyline, the manga and anime quickly became international hits.

If the installation of Wingard as the director is any indication, the film should have strong horror overtones. It will also be highly interesting to see how Hollywood recreates the bizarre looking Death Gods.

Hollywood actor Masi Oka, who is well-known here in Japan, along with Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Jason Hoffs will be producing the film, and Jeremey Slater, who scripted Fantastic Four, has apparently written a new draft of the script, so it certainly looks like all the right groundwork is being laid.

▼ Posts on Wingard’s Facebook page show some excited reactions to the announcement:

Based on how well the Japanese Death Note films did, expectations are bound to be high for the Hollywood version, and unless they do something terribly wrong here (which sadly has been known to happen with live action adaptations of anime and manga) the movie definitely has the potential to be a huge box office hit in Japan. We’ll be looking forward to more news and footage coming out in the future!

Source: The Hollywood ReporterCinema Today
Top image: Amazon Japan