Death Note and Shane Black--a title and name I never would’ve expected to see together. Deadline says the one-time “King of the Spec” has been penciled in to direct a feature adaptation of the internationally-popular manga series that’s spawned, among many things, a riveting long-form anime and a handful of incredibly cheesy live-action J-horror movies. As it happens, I’ve actually covered Death Note extensively at Anime Vice. It is, without a doubt, one of the most white-knuckle detective thrillers I’ve seen in any medium, maintaining an impressive, near-constant level of tension throughout the show's entirety.
The short synopsis is that it’s about a high school valedictorian, Light Yagami, who randomly receives a terribly-powerful notebook from a bored demon. Whoever's name Light writes in this book will die instantly and so, faster than you can say "megalomania," he proclaims himself a “god” who judges and executes criminals all over the world. A master detective known only as "L" arises to oppose him and many great battles of wits and tense cat & mouse games ensue between the two.
That’s my short version. Here’s my long version, if you're interested.
While I love the series, I’ll be the first to admit that there are elements that simply wouldn’t work in American live-action (they certainly didn’t work in Japanese live-action.) Even if you forgo some leaps in disbelief-suspension that Japanese audiences seem to have less problems with than American ones do, there's the glaring, garish matter of Light's fearsome demon pal looking like a clownish Hot Topic regular.