Death Note Director Adam Wingard Talks Netflix Freedom: “We Can Do Whatever We Want”


Thanks in large part to the stellar one-two punch of You’re Next and The Guest, writer-director Adam Wingard quickly established himself as a bankable genre filmmaker who harbored the ability to unsettle audiences with thrilling visuals and sharp, intelligent scripts.

That continued with a foray into the realm of mainstream horror for the recent Blair Witch sequel – a sequel that was paraded around as The Woods for the longest time – but with Death Note, Wingard is circling back to the type of jet-black material that helped put him on the map in the first place.

Setting up shop at Netflix, the director spoke to Collider about the creative agency that the platform tends to afford, along with his own personal experience with the anime genre. Perhaps above all else, the one thing that ought to please fans of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s morbid Japanese manga is that, thanks to Netflix’s relatively lenient rating system, Death Note will tout “nudity, swearing and tons of violence.”

“We can do whatever we want. That was the cool thing about it, because it’s an anime film. So, technically, it’s a cartoon that you’re bring to life. To me, the thing about anime is that it’s so adult-oriented. I remember going to Suncoast growing up and you see Akira there with the little “Not for Kids” sticker on it. That always made an impact on me. So, doing my first live-action anime thing, to me it was important that you have those adult themes. So, it’s got nudity, it’s got swearing, it’s got a ton of violence. Jason Eisener, who did Hobo with a Shotgun. I brought him on – I’m good friends with him – as second-unit director. There’s basically like three good Jason Eisner short films in there and they’re all very gory. I was able to just turn him loose sometime, and just do some crazy stuff.”

Production is already underway on Adam Wingard’s live-action adaptation, having pulled together a cast comprised of Nat Wolff and Willem Dafoe as unruly deity, Ryuk the Shinigami. We’ll keep you posted as Death Note nears its 2017 due date.