The record breaking success of Deadpool at the box office has sent ripples through Hollywood, to the extent that R-rated graphic novel adaptations are now being seen as a potentially lucrative option, rather than something to be avoided.
One such adaptation is Death Note, a chilling Japanese manga series by Tsugumi Ohba (with illustration by Takeshi Obata) that first ran between 2003 and 2006. It'll be made into a US live-action film by Warner Brothers.
'Very Grounded But Still Has Fantastical Elements'
At this year's DICE Summit, Collider spoke with producer Roy Lee, who confirmed the film adaptation is 'definitely for adults' and, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the film would be R-rated. Lee added:
"[The movie] will be one of the first manga adaptations that feels very grounded but still has fantastical elements.”
This won't be the first live-action adaptation of the manga series. In 2006, a Japanese version of the same name was released, that was met with critical acclaim (watch the creepy clip below). Two sequels follow, Death Note 2: The Last Name, and L: Change The World.
'We're Planning On Making This Year'
But manga success in the east is much more predictable than in the US. Lee confirmed that they haven't actually got the go ahead to start producing as of yet. He added:
“[We are] currently waiting for us to officially greenlight the movie, but we have a cast in place. I think it’s been reported but I don’t remember yet, I’d have to check the site, so I don’t want to say anything yet. But it’s a movie we’re planning on making this year.”
The fact the film still hasn't been green-lit by Warner Brothers, after obtaining the rights way back in 2009, is testament to the notorious difficulty in producing live-action manga movies.
Any delay certainly isn't down to the lack of storyline. The crux of the plot centers around a high schooler, Light Yagami, who discovers a supernatural death book that was left in the human world by a Death God, Ryuk.
The notebook allows its owner to kill anyone by simply scribbling their name within its pages. Yagami decides to play God, weeding out the bad guys of society by using his new found tool.
The Rough Ride Of Manga Adaptations
In many ways, the film mirrors Oldboy, another manga series that was adapted into a much praised South-Korean live-action movie in 2003.
The US remake was originally poised to see Will Smith as the leading man, but eventually the role went to Josh Brolin. Despite the fine pedigree, the film was a flop at the box office, making only $4.9 million from its $30 million budget.
However, you can't help but feel with the success of Deadpool, some executive at Warner may now feel the time is right for Death Note. Perhaps it's time to turn the page?
Have you seen any of the previous 'Death Note' material? Would you like to see an American adaptation?