Though the viability of the project remains in question for some of us, the Japanese anime Death Note is getting its very own American live-action adaptation. Hurrah for innovation! Oh wait, this is what they’ve been doing to everything, isn’t it? Okay, so it may not be a new idea, but we shall see it regardless. And while Shane Black was previously in the director’s chair, it now appears as if Gus Van Sant is going to be taking the reins instead.
This may seem like a strange choice to those of us that are aware of Van Sant’s track record. H did, after all, receive Oscar noms for his work on both Good Will Hunting and Milk. To have him in charge of an anime about murder and revenge? Well, let’s just say it should be quite the interesting match-up. Skeptics should also be aware that Van Sant has a few suspense flicks under his belt, including the 1998 remake of Psycho and Paranoid Park. So he has at least some of the skills required to direct this kind of flick.
The biggest concern about the Death Note adaptation has less to do with the choice of director, however, and more to do with sheer amount of source material involved. The series tracks the main character through several of his murders, so a lot of that could be cut to save room. But what about the demons? And all the side characters? And the development of the main character along the way? Can anyone, even Van Sant, capture everything that made the Death Note series so interesting within a 2+ hours time limit? I guess we’ll have a chance to find out sometime in the future.
For those unfamiliar with Death Note – A high school kid finds a magic notebook that, when someone’s name and a cause of death is written in it, causes the person attached to said name to kick the bucket. At first he uses his powers to remove criminals, but when a genius FBI agent begins tracking him, the good intentions begin to twist as the main character tries to keep himself out of the clutches of the law.
Source: The Tracking Board