When Roy Lee was quizzed about those scathing whitewashing claims surrounding Death Note, the seasoned producer argued that Netflix’s R-rated adaptation is “an interpretation of the story in a different culture.”
Change is inevitable, then, and sure enough, the casting of Nat Wolff as moody teenager Light Yagami has arguably proven to be the biggest point of contention since Death Note was officially unveiled three months ago. He’ll now go by the name of Light Turner, who begins to develop a heartfelt bond with L, a world-famous detective, upon discovering the titular piece of script: “The human whose name is written in this note shall die.”
Moreover, in Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s original manga series, Light’s dalliance with death and the deity known as Shinigami Ryuk takes place in Japan, though we understand the Adam Wingard-directed film will relocate that story to Seattle, where the great Willem Dafoe will play the part of Ryuk.
But when the issue of whitewashing reared its ugly head once more, Wingard stepped in to address concerns via Twitter, before pointing to Martin Scorsese’s The Departed – itself a loose remake of Infernal Affairs – as an example of a story that was relocated to an American setting. It is, however, worth pointing out that Death Note actually received a live-action feature in 2006, which featured a primarily Asian cast.
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
Not unlike Ghost in the Shell before it, Death Note is considered to be one of the most iconic manga series on the planet, and with such an impassioned fanbase in tow, it’s small wonder why some have taken issue with the radical changes being made in Netflix’s adaptation.
Also starring Margaret Qualley, Lakeith Stanfield, Paul Nakauchi, Shea Whigham, and Masi Oka, Adam Wingard’s R-rated Death Note movie will premiere via Netflix on August 25th.