Netflix’s Death Note series would have found its author. According to Deadline, Duffer Brothers’ upcoming live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese manga and anime will be written and produced by Halia Abdel-Meguid. Under their new Upside Down Pictures production banner, directing duo Matt and Ross Duffer confirmed the project in July, alongside a series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Talisman. Writer Abdel-Meguid is also attached to the fantasy horror adaptation as a consulting writer. Currently, there is no release window for Netflix’s Death Note series.
Deadline describes Abdel-Meguid as a “longtime fan” of the anime and manga Death Note – written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata – who previously resided in Tokyo, Japan, and speaks the native language. Adaptations based on video games and anime are always the target of controversy, as the creators usually end up taking liberties that deviate significantly from the source material.
In 2017, Netflix tried its hand at a live-action film adaptation of Death Note, starring Nat Wolffe, which totally compressed the first half of the critically acclaimed 37-episode anime into just 100 minutes. On top of that, director Adam Wingard (Godzilla vs. Kong) made significant changes to character personalities and plot beats, to cater to an American audience. The film was ultimately panned by critics and fans.
For the uninitiated, Death Note explores the journey of a bright-witted teenager, Light Yagami, who stumbles upon a strange notebook of a Shinigami (god of death). Writing an individual’s name in the book, while imagining their face, results in their death – either by heart attack or by any means specified by the user. Harnessing this supernatural power transforms Yagami into a self-centered messiah, of sorts, taking on the role of judge, jury, and executioner.
As of 2018, a sequel to the Adam Wingard film is reportedly in development starring Greg Russo (Mortal Kombat), although no updates have come out of it. For this new Netflix adaptation, Deadline says the Duffer Brothers – creators of Stranger Things – will have an entirely original take on the IP, though the studio is aware of the specifics. Additionally, several producers from the 2017 film are attached to the project, including Roy Lee and Dan Lin as executive producers. The latter was in the running to replace Walter Hamada at the head of DC Films last August.
Under their new production company, Upside down Pictures, the Duffer Brothers have also planned a play set in the world and mythology of Stranger Things, alongside a live-action spin-off series.