Netflix’s adaptation of Death Note arrives in in August with plenty of baggage, as fans of the wildly popular manga and anime have already criticized the choice of an American, rather than Japanese, cast, and the relocation of the story’s setting to Seattle. The charges of whitewashing follow controversies surrounding such recent box-office flops as Ghost in the Shell and The Great Wall, and Netflix’s own Iron Fist.
Director Adam Wingard, best known for horror films You’re Next, The Guest and Blair Witch, addressed some of the criticism on Twitter, where he refuted an accusation that his Death Note is attempting to “erase” elements of Japanese culture.
There is no conspiracy to remove Japanese culture from Death Note. Its a fresh version of the story set in Seattle. Also see The Departed. https://t.co/ZezHsFSecC
— Adam Wingard (@AdamWingard) June 6, 2017
A. Thats not the point. It's a remake of Infernal Affairs set in Boston.
B. They do but there are also white, blacks, hispanic etc. https://t.co/RW6PvxdEsE
— Adam Wingard (@AdamWingard) June 7, 2017
Wingard also clarified earlier comments he made about the inclusion of profanity and gore in the adaptation. “None of it is gratuitous or focus point of the film,” he wrote. “What I was trying to illustrate is we weren’t being forced into making a watered down Dragonball PG cheese fest. If you don’t believe me watch the film when it comes out. ”
Debuting in 2003, Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s manga Death Note tells the story of a high school student who stumbles across a supernatural notebook that allows the owner to kill anyone simply by writing their name in its pages. He sets out to cleanse the world of evil, which puts him on a collision course with the enigmatic detective L. The manga is a global phenomenon that inspired a hit anime series, light novels, video games, a series of live-action films in Japan, a musical and an avalanche of merchandise.
Arriving Aug. 25 on Netflix, Wingard’s Death Note stars Nat Wolff as Light Turner, Margaret Qualley as Mia Sutton, Keith Stanfield as “L,” Paul Nakauchi as Watari, Shea Whigham as James Turner and Willem Dafoe as Ryuk.