Netflix's live-action adaptation of Death Note is NOT getting a lot of love, especially from the fans of the original who have dubbed this version as ‘whitewashed.' Director Adam Wingard addresses the controversy behind his movie, and compares it to another film that was tagged with a whitewashing mark—this year's live-action Ghost in the Shell.
Speaking to Vulture, Wingard comments:
"It's one of those things where it's a good conversation to be having, and it wasn't one we were really expecting. It wasn't until the Ghost in the Shell cracked it open [that] it became a conversation. But by then, we had already cast all of that stuff… It's not just taking a character and trying to say a white kid is a Japanese kid. It is a whole new thing. The characters are all very different and it is a different kind of experience all together."
He also goes on to say that there are already several live-action adaptations of the material made by and for Japanese people, and his version just seeks to bring a new spin to the story. Wingard goes on:
"[It was] about creating a new experience out of it. This stuff has already been made into movies in Japan. The anime itself is an adaptation, and a lot of those things are on the nose, so this was a chance to reexplore the material in a new light."
Despite the whole problem with whitewashing, a lot of fans seem to be attacking the film because there are noticeable differences from the source material to this one (besides the setting and main character's nationalities). For one, Ryuk, the god of death played by Willem Dafoe, is impartial to Light's decisions in the original manga. In the trailers, Ryuk is openly goading on Light to murder people.
For now, we can't really tell if Netflix's Death Note will be a hit; we'll just have to see what audiences think when the movie comes out Aug. 25.