This Is Why Netflix’s Death Note Live Action Movie Is Different From The Manga

By Diane Samson | 1 year ago
This Is Why Netflix’s Death Note Live Action Movie Is Different From The Manga
PHOTOGRAPH: Facebook/Death Note |

Netflix has released a new trailer for the live-action adaptation of popular Japanese manga and anime, Death Note. In the midst of white-washing issues surrounding the new movie, director Adam Wingard explains the story behind why they changed a lot of details from Light’s dark and dangerous story.

Recurring Themes

While Death Note is currently one of the most popular anime/manga, many are not too happy that a live-action movie is getting made. Hollywood does not exactly have a good track record with adapting anime and manga to live-action movies as evidenced by the recent failure of Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell.

Moreover, Netflix’s Death Note movie is not a direct adaptation of the manga. The upcoming movie is not just set in America, it has a white lead portrayed by Nat Wolff (The Fault In Our StarsPaper Towns).

So, in an interview with IGN, soon after the second trailer has been released online, Wingard defended his new movie.

“It’s one of those things where the harder I tried to stay 100 percent true to the source material, the more it just kind of fell apart,” he explained about the plot. “You’re in a different country, you’re in a different kind of environment, and you’re trying to also summarize a sprawling series into a two-hour-long film. For me, it became about what do these themes mean to modern day America, and how does that affect how we tell the story.”

But while a lot of major details were changed in order to make the movie more marketable to the U.S. audience, the director assured that the core themes of the manga and anime were kept intact.

“Ultimately, the cat and mouse chase between Light and L, the themes of good, evil, and what’s in between the gray area,” he shared. “Those are the core things of Death Note, and that’s really what we went for.”

As for the change of setting, moving the story to the U.S. also meant incorporating political and sociological issues that are relevant in the Western society. “Ultimately, whenever I say it’s about America, I’m looking at it like, ‘What are the main kind of core issues going on in America?'” He asked.

Netflix’s L

Wingard also talked about the protagonists of his movie. He mentioned that while a lot was changed about the characters, they also retained a few recognizable traits that will make them familiar to long-time fans of the manga.

He pointed out that L, for example, has a lot of similarities with his manga counterpart. The director mentioned that Lakeith Stanfield’s version of the character also likes to munch on candy and sometimes runs around without his shoes on.

At the end of the day, he is still the same weirdo that fans of the anime and manga love. The same can be said about the other characters except for Willem Dafoe’s Ryuk who, Wingard promised, is still very much like his manga counterpart.

Death Note Trailer Reaction

A new trailer for Death Note live-action movie adaptation was released online on Thursday. Unfortunately, it still has not captured the hearts of the original manga and anime fans.

Many are not happy with the portrayal of L who, according to one poster, went from “charming sociopath into a ‘troubled’ school shooter type.'”

Some are still unhappy over the casting of Wolff in a character that originally was Japanese. Wingard already addressed the white-washing controversy in a previous interview.

Netflix’s Death Note also stars Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Michael Shamus Wiles, Paul McGillion, Paul Nakauchi and Masi Oka. The movie will be released on Aug. 25.

Also Read: Here Is What David Harbour Can Tease About Officer Hopper & Eleven In Stranger Things Season 2

Photo Source: YouTube/Netflix

About the author

Diane Samson is a graduate of Literature. In her spare time, she loves to watch movies and television shows. She joined MNG in February 2016.