has released the first trailer for the live film adaptation of the popular Japanese manga Death Note—watch above.
The original manga series, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, follows the story of teenager Light Yagami, who finds a notebook that kills whoever’s name is written in it. His dangerous antics soon attract the attention of “L,” a world-class detective. Death Note, in all its dark, twisted glory, became massively popular. Unfortunately, the trailer for the Netflix film adaptation is a bit troubling, and in an all-too-predictable way.
The film is directed by Adam Wingard, who also directed the 2016 sequel Blair Witch, which earned a depressing 35 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Wingard is a fan of Christopher Nolan, and believes anime is in for the “same treatment” that Nolan gave to Batman. “I think the key is straying away from overt Anime style like Speed Racer and Dragon Ball and instead try to ground the stories in more relatable ways,” Wingard said in a Reddit AMA last year. “With Death Note I tried to give it a gritty, lived-in look. With that said Death Note is going to be my most insane movie yet.”
However, Death Note the film has already been met with criticism for its overtly non-Japanese cast. Light Yagami has been rewritten as “Light Turner,” and will be played by Nat Wolff (Paper Towns). Other cast members include Lakeith Stanfield (of Get Out and Atlanta fame) as L, Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley. So in other words, Death Note is going to be as Americanized as everyone feared it would be. If you’re wondering, “What’s the harm in casting non-Japanese actors in a Japanese story?” we would like to direct you here.