Many devotees of the original manga and anime have been critical of Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Death Note, which moves the story’s setting from Japan to Seattle, and uses a largely American cast. And the new character spotlighting the fan-favorite detective L isn’t likely to soften their criticism.
Portrayed by Atlanta breakout Lakeith Stanfield, this version of L hides his identity beneath a hood and bandana, a significant departure from the enigmatic crime-solver fans grew to love in the manga and anime. That’s only the beginning, however, as several scenes in the movie’s trailers show an L who is willingly out and about and even speaking to the public, a far cry when compared to the original character who sought to take down Light and his murderous abilities from behind closed doors. The changes made to the socially awkward sleuth can potentially open up the project to even more scrutiny, with L being a popular enough character to even receive several spin-off films and novels.
While the film will obviously feature tweaks to the source material, director Adam Wingard has promised that the adaptation will still focus around the “cat and mouse chase between Light and L, the themes of good, evil, and what’s in between the gray area.”
Light Turner, a bright student, 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 detective known only by the alias L.
Arriving Aug. 25 on Netflix, 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.
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