Die-hard fans of Death Note -- whether it is fans of the manga or anime -- have been apprehensive about how Hollywood’s version will play out, both in storytelling and casting. Well, here’s a piece of news that will either delight fans or disappoint them. Nat Wolff, the break-out star of Paper Towns, is in final negotiations to star in Warner Brother’s live-action adaptation of Death Note, which will be directed by the marvelous Adam Wingard (You’re Next). Variety describes Wolff’s character as “a student who discovers a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone simply by writing the victim’s name.” This description sounds a whole lot like Light Yagami, the main character of the Death Note franchise. Variety also mentions a rival to Wolff’s character who also serves as a “reclusive police officer”, which could loosely fit the description of Light’s rival L.
Viz Media, who has practically licensed everything Death Note-related, describes the plot as:
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects--and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life?
The Death Note manga went on for 12 volumes, and the anime series has a total of 37 episodes. This popular franchise also conjured up live-action Japanese films and a live-action Japanese drama, which just recently aired its series finale. It is considered an anime masterpiece and is always recommended as a 'gateway' anime to non-anime viewers. The expectations are reasonably mixed for the Hollywood adaptation, mainly because Japan’s rendition wasn’t all that well-liked overall (I surprisingly enjoyed it -- both the live-action films and the J-drama).
Personally, I have a mixed reaction to Wolff’s casting. As a huge fan of Death Note, I was initially upset by the casting simply because Wolff wasn’t an actor I envisioned in Death Note; however, I am willing to give Wolff a chance because he could ultimately surprise me. Hell, I didn’t think I would like Evan Peters' Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past, yet he ended up being one of the highlights of the film. I’m hoping Wolff proves me wrong, just like Peters did. As for the “un-named” character Wolff will be portraying, in terms of character description, the live-action adaptation could tell a completely unique story -- one which forsakes Light and L, instead opting to introduce new characters to the Death Note universe while respecting the old ones. Though the character description for Wolff’s character does sound similar to Light, the film could easily introduce another student who gets his hands on the Death Note.
If the film does indeed decide to faithfully portray the Death Note manga and anime, then the character whose casting I’m most concerned/excited for is that of Light’s rival L. L is hands down the most popular character of the series, and whoever plays this character will have to have a certain chemistry with Wolff. Light and L’s cat-mouse game is what made the series such a big hit in the first place. My curiosity for the film has grown exponentially, and I’m keeping my eyes open for the next casting announcement!
Calling all Death Note fans! What do you think of Nat Wolff being cast in Death Note? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!