Shane Black For Japanese Manga Death Note

Shane Black on board to direct live action ‘Death Note.’

Warner Bros has signed “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” director Shane Black to direct a live action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Death Note. Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry are adapting the manga, the pair also worked on “Doc Savage,” the big-screen adaption of the 1930’s pulp hero that Black will direct for Sony.


“It’s my favorite manga, I was just struck by its unique and brilliant sensibility,” Black said. “What we want to do is 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. Jeff Robinov and Greg Silverman liked that.”


Written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, Death Note was originally published in Japan and later collected in 12 trade paperbacks that have sold more than 38 million copies worldwide. The protagonist, Light, is a bright student who stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous FBI criminal profiler known only by the alias L. Death Note is wildly popular in Japan and has been turned into live action and animated films, an animated TV series, novels and vidgames. The trio of live action films were distributed by Warner Bros Japan. Warner Bros acquired the manga rights from Shueisha and previously got a script draft from Charley and Vlas Parlapanides.


Black, who played Hawkins in the original “Predator” and sold the first “Lethal Weapon” screenplay right out of college, hasn’t decided between “Death Note” and “Doc Savage” as his next film just yet.