Netflix has a new horror film premiering in just a few days: ‘Death Note.’ The title will likely be familiar to many fans of the manga or anime genres: originally published as Japenese comic-book content starting in 2003, the property also saw life in Japan as a 37-episode anime television series in 2006 and 2007. Now, a large-scale cinematic adaptation of the story is coming via director Adam Wingard and Netflix – although the film almost never came to fruition at all.
Wingard, who’s other major directorial credits include such horror fare as ‘Blair Witch,’ ‘You’re Next,’ and ‘The Guest,’ relates the ‘Death Note’ tale in a recent interview:
“It was originally set up at Warner Brothers. They’d been developing it for quite some time before I was attached. Shane Black was attached. Gus Van Sant did a version. Warner Brothers was interested in me for it and I was immediately like, ‘Wow, this is Death Note!’ Funnily enough, my younger brother had told me, ‘If you’re ever going to adapt something into a movie, you should do Death Note.’ That was the first time I heard of it. I think that was right around You’re Next, so I didn’t really have any way of being able to go to a studio and say, Hey, I want to adapt Death Note!’ [But] I didn’t even have to go after this, here it is! It was a long [development] process, because we always knew the film to be rated R and we always knew that it wasn’t a low budget movie. I actually had signed on to it before doing Blair Witch and we were developing the script concurrently while I was shooting that. The last day of the sound mix, I had a conversation with them, at WB, about, ‘Okay, this is definitely going.’ That next Monday, we were going to start full-time on it. We’d budgeted it out, everything was good. So, I go out of town on the weekend, and I’m driving back from Joshua Tree, I get a call from my manager, and they’re like, ‘Yep, Warner Brothers put it in to turnaround over the weekend.’”
Wingard, for his part, was a bit incredulous, but was extremely thankful for the film to receive a “second life” at Netflix:
“Well, first off, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a studio doing anything over the weekend. But it was really shocking. It just came out of nowhere. I thought initially, There’s no way this is going to happen, nobody’s going to pick this thing up, because it’s just such a bizarre film, and it’s not a cheap one. So, they started shopping it around town. There was interest, but some studios wanted to do it for less, and we’d already budgeted it to within an inch of its life. But, within a day or two, Netflix raised their hand, and said that they were interested. So, this movie literally exists because we’re in a very specific time, where a company like Netflix is looking for projects like this, that do have a mainstream appeal, but are a little off-center and doing something different.”
Fans don’t have long to wait to check out the film for themselves, as it will be released for public consumption in just a few short days!
‘Death Note’ will premiere on Netflix on August 25, 2017.