Shane Black Directs a "Death Note"

Writing a Death Note would normally be a bad thing, but for director Shane Black -- the man behind the film that re-launched Robert Downey Jr.'s career, "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" -- it means a chance to helm a live-action adaptation of one of the biggest anime and manga series of all time.

Deadline New York reports that Warner Bros. has hired Black to direct the big-budget "Death Note" movie based on writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata's enormously popular creation. The director will oversee a script written by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry. The two writers are also working with Black on his other project, "Doc Savage," for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

"It's my favorite manga, I was just struck by its unique and brilliant sensibility," Black told Deadline. "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."

"Death Note" explores the idea of corruption and evil when a young student names Light finds a notebook that holds the power to kill anyone in any way once you write the details within its pages. Light originally begins to use the notebook to kill criminals. However, once the police and FBI become involved -- and teenage genius and criminal profiler L -- Light slides down a slippery slope that sends him on a dark, dangerous path of villainy. The manga title spans 12 volumes that have sold over 38 million copies worldwide and has spawned an anime series, novels, video games and a trio of Japanese language live-action films.

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