Shane Black to direct manga adaptation Death Note
Deadline reports that Warner Bros. is developing a live-action adaptation of popular manga series Death Note to be directed by Shane Black—master of the smart-assed action movie, erstwhile spec script king of Hollywood, and a man whose typewriter makes a cash register “ka-ching” at the end of every sentence. After making it huge with Lethal Weapon then faltering somewhat with films like Last Action Hero and The Long Kiss Goodnight, as the story goes, Black took a long break from the industry, returning in 2005 with his directorial debut, the clever, twisty New Cult Canon entry Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This project would put Black back in the director’s chair, but the script will see him sharing duties with Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry—the same team who are helping Black prep Doc Savage, which is still in the works for Sony. There’s no word on which film the suddenly-very-busy Black plans to do first, but judging from this Collider interview with producer Neal Moritz, Doc Savage is much closer to becoming a reality—and definitely much closer than Black’s long-discussed attempt to revive the Lethal Weapon franchise, for obvious reasons.
For those unfamiliar with Death Note via its original comic form, its live-action Japanese films, or its Adult Swim-featured animated version, the story concerns a mystical notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name is written inside it. It's Death Note, The Note That Kills—the ultimate slam book, if you will, which high-school student Light Yagami decides to use to rid the world of criminals, much to the consternation of a super-detective known only as "L." Promisingly, Black is an avowed fan of the series, and he’s made it clear that he wants to “take it back to that manga, and make it closer to what is so complex and truthful about the spirituality of the story, versus taking the concept and trying to copy it as an American thriller.” So the chances of Death Note mutating into, say, a film about a blog that starts killing people and only Channing Tatum can stop it seem pretty slim. You are still free to write that one.