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Death Note (American film)

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This page is for the American live-action film that will be released in 2017. For the Japanese live-action film, see Death Note (live action film).

Death Note is an upcoming American feature film adaptation of the Death Note manga.

Netflix developed the film after it was dropped by Warner Brothers in 2016. It is written by Jeremy Slater, directed by Adam Wingard, and starring Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, and Keith Stanfield. The film will be available streaming on Netflix on August 25th, 2017.


ActorCharacterBased on
Nat Wolff Light Turner Light Yagami
Margaret Qualley Mia SuttonMisa Amane
Keith Stanfield L
Paul NakauchiWatari
Shea WhighamJames TurnerSoichiro Yagami
Willem Dafoe Ryuk
Masi Oka


From Netflix:[1] "Intoxicated by the power of a supernatural notebook, a young man begins killing those he deems unworthy of life. Based on the famous Japanese manga."


Early developmentEdit

On January 14, 2007, the Malaysian paper The Star stated that more than ten film companies in the United States had expressed interest in the rights for a Death Note remake.[2] On June 2nd, 2008, Shock Till You Drop reported that the American production company Vertigo Entertainment was developing the remake with Vlas and Charles Parlapanides as screenwriters.[3][4] On April 30, 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros., the distributors for the original Japanese live-action films, had acquired the American rights for the remake, with the original screenwriters still attached, along with Vertigo's producers Roy Lee and Doug Davison, in addition to producers Dan Lin and Brian Witten.[5][6] The release date was tentatively set for the year 2015.

On January 13, 2011, Deadline announced that Shane Black had been hired to direct the film, with the script being written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry.[7] On October 29, 2011, Black explained at a Long Beach Comic Con panel that the film was in jeopardy. Warner Brothers initially wanted Light Yagami to become the good guy while Ryuk would be cut from the plot altogether. Black was largely opposed to this and insisted that a faithful adaptation was the correct way to go. Black went on to say that eventually the original elements of the main character Light had been restored in the script, and added that this is what the film should be about.[8] A year and a half later, on April 24, 2013, Black confirmed in an interview with Bleeding Cool that he was still working on the film.[9] More than another year after that, on July 8, 2014, The Tracking Board reported that Gus Van Sant would direct the film since Shane Black was leaving for another project.[10]

On April 27, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Adam Wingard would direct the film, with the most recent version of the script written by Jeremy Slater. Jason Hoffs and Masi Oka were announced as producers, in addition to Roy Lee and Dan Lin.[11] On September 29, 2015, Variety reported that Nat Wolff was cast as the student who finds the Death Note.[12] On November 12th, 2015, Deadline reported that Margaret Qualley was in negotiations for the female lead.[13] On February 22, 2016, producer Roy Lee said in an interview with Collider that they were still waiting for the official greenlight, but they plan on making the movie this year. Lee also stated that they had a cast in place and the film would definitely be rated R.[14]

On April 6, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Warner Brothers was looking to release fewer films following the poor reception of Batman v. Superman.[15] Later that day, The Wrap reported that Warner Brothers had dropped Death Note, but the project was now getting picked up by Netflix. Keith Stanfield might also join the cast, although an official offer had not yet been made.[16][17] On April 8th, The Vancouver Sun reported that filming would begin in Vancouver on June 22.[18] On May 27, VancouverFilm.Net provided a schedule for June production dates; Death Note is scheduled for production from June 30th to August 30th.[19] On June 10, Variety reported that Keith Stanfield was cast for an unknown role.[20] That same day, the Directors Guild of Canada released production dates for the second half of 2016, updating Death Note's production start date to June 29th.[21] On June 13, Bloody Disgusting reported that Jason Eisener was joining the film as second unit director.[22]

Principal photographyEdit

Filming was first spotted in Vancouver on June 28th.[23][24] On June 30th, Netflix confirmed that principal photography had begun and made several announcements. Wolff will be playing Light Turner (based on Light Yagami), Qualley will be Mia Sutton (Misa Amane), and Stanfield will be L. Paul Nakauchi was added to the cast as Watari, and Shea Whigham as James Turner (presumably Soichiro Yagami). The film will be available streaming on Netflix in 2017.[25] On July 6, filming was spotted in downtown Vancouver for what appeared to be L (Keith Stanfield) giving a press conference set in Seattle.[26][27][28][29][30] On August 2, 2016, Willem Dafoe was announced to voiced the Shinigami Ryuk.[31] Principal photography was extended, and filming wrapped on September 10th.[24][32]


On November 10th, 2016, director Wingard tweeted the "first official image from Death Note" of a film clapperboard,[33] and this was later followed by Wolff and Qualley posting images to their instagrams of Light and Mia apparently having a picnic in a graveyard. On November 17th, producer Masi Oka confirmed in an interview that he had a part in the film.[34][35] On January 31, 2017, the film had its first private screening.[36] On March 22, the first trailer was released.[37][38][39]


Following the announcements in 2015 revealing the lead actors, the project saw criticism from professionals and fans alike for whitewashing Japanese characters.[40][41][42] Asian-American actor Edward Zo posted a video about his personal attempts to audition for the lead role of Light, which he was unable to do because the role was limited to only white actors.[43][44][45] Asian-American actress Arden Cho also criticized the whitewashing on Twitter, quoting actress Viola Davis saying, "you cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there," and added that there was a "LONG way to go for Asians when we can't even book Animes."[41] No one from Warner Brothers responded to the controversy, and neither did Netflix after picking up the production.

The controversy saw a resurgence when the trailer was released on March 22, 2017. "Death Note" trended on Twitter with many individuals commenting on the whitewashing, and many outlets picking up the story.[37][38][39][46][47][48][49][50][51][52]


  • The announcement that the film would be rated R came out just eight days after Deadpool's record-breaking release. Deadpool was the first major comic book film adaptation to be rated R, while similar adaptations have stayed with lower ratings to keep them accessible to underage fans. The major success of an R-rated comic book movie might have provided the Death Note production team leverage to go with an R rating.

Video galleryEdit

Image galleryEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. From Death Note's listing on, retrieved 2016 July 24.
  2. Last but not least. The Star, 2007 January 14.
  3. Vertigo Scribbling Death Note Remake, Shock Till You Drop, 2008 June 02.
  4. Vertigo Entertainment Developing U.S. Death Note Remake, The Anime News Network, 2008 June 02.
  5. Warner brings ‘Death’ to bigscreen, Variety, 2009 April 30.
  6. Warner Brothers Acquire Live-Action Death Note Rights (Update 2), The Anime News Network, 2009 May 01.
  7. Warner Bros Taps Shane Black For Japanese Manga 'Death Note', Deadline, 2011 January 13.
  8. Shane Black: Warner Bros Wanted to Change 'Death Note' Plot, 2011 October 31.
  9. Shane Black On His Death Note And Doc Savage Movies, Bleeding Cool, 2013 April 24.
  10. {TB EXCLUSIVE} GUS VAN SANT TAKES OVER “DEATH NOTE”, The Tracking Board, 2014 July 08.
  11. 'Guest' Director Adam Wingard Signs On for 'Death Note' (Exclusive), The Hollywood Reporter, 2015 April 27.
  12. Paper Towns Nat Wolff to Star in Adam Wingard's 'Death Note', Variety, 2015 September 29.
  13. ‘Death Note’ Movie Sets Margaret Qualley As Female Lead, Deadline, 2015 November 12.
  14. Exclusive: ‘Death Note’ Movie Rating and Tone Revealed, Collider, 2016 February 22.
  15. Warner Bros. Mulls Releasing Fewer Films as 'Batman v. Superman' Stalls, The Hollywood Reporter, 2016 April 6.
  16. Adam Wingard’s ‘Death Note’ Jumps From Warner Bros. to Netflix (Exclusive), The Wrap, 2016 April 6.
  17. Netflix Sets Sights On Supernatural Manga Adaptation Of Death Note, Cinemablend, 2016 April 8.
  18. Hollywood North | Live-action manga movie, Death Note, to be filmed in Vancouver, 2016 April 8.
  19. Vancouver Film Production Update - June 2016, VancouverFilm.Net, 2016 May 27.
  20. 'Short Term 12's' Keith Stanfield to Star With Nat Wolff in Netflix’'s 'Death Note', Variety, 2016 June 10.
  21. 'The Predator,' 'Death Note' and 'Okja' Filming Dates and Locations Revealed, Collider, 2016 June 12.
  22. 'Death Note' Adds the Talents of Jason Eisener!, Bloody Disgusting, 2016 June 13.
  23. Death Note Movie with Nat Wolff Starts Filming in Vancouver, What's Filming, 2016 June 28th.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Vancouver Filming Locations - Death Note, What's Filming, retrieved 2016 September 5th.
  25. Adam Wingard Shares His Notes on ‘Death Note’ as Production Begins, The Collider, 2016 June 30.
  26. SHOOT: American Adaption of Japanese Manga DEATH NOTE with “L” at Vancouver Art Gallery, YVRShoots, 2016 July 6.
  27. Tweet with photos by ClayinVan, 2016 July 6.
  28. Tweet with photos by daynagasaki, 2016 July 6.
  29. Tweet with photos by Jen_Eggleston, 2016 July 6.
  30. Tweet with photos by LarryWong84, 2016 July 6.
  31. Willem Dafoe to voice the Shinigami in Netflix's 'Death Note' (Exclusive), Mashable, 2016 August 02.
  32. On September 12th, 2016, director Adam Wingard had a AMA on Reddit in which one fan asked, "How is the shoot coming along for Death Note?" and Wingard replied, "Just wrapped two days ago. It went amazingly well. Very excited to start editing!"
  33. "First official image from Death Note". Tweet by Adam Wingard (@adamwingard). November 10th, 2016.
  34. Hawaii Five-0: Masi Oka exiting after seven seasons — exclusive. Entertainment Weekly. November 17, 2016.
  35. Heroes' Masi Oka Appears in Netflix's Live-Action Death Note Film. Anime News Network. November 29, 2016.
  36. Screencap of the invite sent to attendees. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Netflix’s ‘Death Note’ First Trailer Draws Fire as Latest Japanese Story Recast With White Hero (Video). The Wrap, March 22, 2017.
  38. 38.0 38.1 Netflix Reveals First Death Note Teaser Trailer., March 22, 2017.
  39. 39.0 39.1 ‘Death Note’: Netflix Releases First Teaser for Live-Action Movie., March 22, 2017.
  40. 'Death Note' whitewashing accusations grow as it casts female lead, The Daily Dot, 2015 November 13.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Death NoteFilm’s Latest Casting News Fuels Protest of Hollywood Whitewashing, The Mary Sue, 2015 November 13.
  42. Hollywood’s Anime Whitewashing Epidemic: Nat Wolff to Star in 'Death Note', The Daily Beast, 2015 September 30.
  43. RACIST HOLLYWOOD?|Death Note Whitewashing, Youtube video posted by Edward Zo, 2015 October 9.
  44. Death Note Movie: Updates Death Note 2016, Death Note Movie, Whitewashing Death Note, CrossMap, 2015 November 2.
  45. Edward Zo: US Death Note Movie 'no Asian Actors Considered for Light Yagami Role', Death Note News, 2015 December 10.
  46. Netflix's Death Note Trailer Gets Murdered With Whitewashing Backlash From Fans! Watch & See The Reactions!., March 22, 2017.
  47. Death Note Is Just A Footnote In The Long History Of Hollywood Whitewashing!., March 22, 2017.
  48. People Are Pissed At Netflix For ‘Whitewashing’ Its New ‘Death Note’ Series. Elite Daily. March 22, 2017.
  49. Netflix’s Adaptation of ‘Death Note’ Anime Attacked for Whitewashing. Heat Street. March 22, 2017.
  50. WATCH: Death Note trailer resurfaces whitewashing backlash against Netflix., March 22, 2017.
  51. Does Netflix Have A Whitewashing Problem?., March 22, 2017.
  52. Netflix releases 'Death Note' teaser, sparking another round of whitewashing criticism., March 22, 2017.

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