One of my favorite movies by director Adam Wingard is 2007's POP SKULL, which he made on a budget of just $2000. He has moved on to higher budgets with the more well-known films YOU'RE NEXT and THE GUEST, but the budgets on those were still nowhere near the 40 to 50 million dollars he'll have to work with on his next project, a live action adaptation of the Japanese manga DEATH NOTE.
DEATH NOTE has been in the works since Warner Bros. picked up the rights back in 2009. Shane Black was attached to write and direct for a while, Gus Van Sant was rumored to be taking over after Black departed, then the adaptation was placed in the hands of Wingard and screenwriter Jeremy Slater (THE LAZARUS EFFECT). Wingard was assembling the cast when WB put the project into turnaround, freeing it up to go to another studio. STX and Lionsgate have expressed interest, but it looks like DEATH NOTE is going to end up at Netflix.
The Netflix acquisition would keep the film on track to start production in June, with actors Nat Wolff and Margaret Qualley still signed on to star.
Wolff will play
a student who discovers a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone simply by writing the victim’s name. A cat-and-mouse game ensues when he’s tracked by a reclusive police officer.
DEATH NOTE is being produced by Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Jason Hoffs, and Masi Oka. Doug Davison and Brian Witten serve as executive producers.