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Anime adaptations have been a complicated subject in the recent history of Hollywood. Two such projects, Death Note and Akira, have been kicking around town for a couple of years now, and thanks to various complications neither one has been brought to life just yet. Death Note just experienced an interesting twist of fate, though. Brace yourselves, anime fans: Adam Wingard is the new director on Death Note.
The Hollywood Reporter names Adam Wingard as the new helmer on the long stalled project, and this announcement is probably the best fit for the franchise's darker sensibilities. Death Note tells the story of Light, a high schooler who stumbles upon a book that can kill anyone by any means the user wants. With an extra-dimensional demon egging him on, and a detective hot on his trail, Light tries to create a world rid of evil – one death at a time.
So after laying down that concept, tell us: would you rather see the director of You're Next and The Guest tackle this concept, or would you rather recall either of the project's previously attached directors? Keep in mind, up until today, Gus Van Sant was the last director rumored to be taking the job, and this was only after Shane Black jumped off of the project to pursue different projects. While both of those filmmakers have experience in pretty dark places, neither has the horror credentials any Death Note helmer would require to make any adaptation of the anime as tense yet haunting as Adam Wingard.
Should Adam Wingard's attempt at bringing Death Note to the big screen manage to succeed, this would be the auteur's first big budget studio film. Considering how long Warner Bros. has been trying to turn this movie into an actual reality, they look like they're ready to put as much money and work behind Death Note as they can. Should this flick succeed, not only would Wingard have a hit with a big studio picture, but Warner Bros. might feel inclined to finally greenlight Akira, thus generating an anime adaptation boom in Hollywood.
Whatever the consequences, good or bad, may be, at the very least, a watchable product. Adam Wingard's horror/thriller skills have been proven to be something that plays for a niche audience better than it does moviegoers in general. Death Note could change all of that, especially if Wingard enlists writer friend and collaborator Simon Barrett to punch up the script into something more along the lines of You're Next, or any other entry of their previous work. They'll have time to work out the kinks though, as Death Note is still in the early stages of pre-production and has no release date as of yet. Attack On Titan, on the other hand, is staying where it belongs... in its homeland.