Adam Wingard knew he was taking on a hot property when he signed on to direct an adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba’s “Death Note” — the online death threats were an early indicator. “I understand people’s passion about it,” the director recently told Yahoo Movies. “I really don’t take it personally when people send me death threats, or go tell me to go f*** myself…on Twitter.”
Netflix’s adaptation of the 108-chapter manga was met with initial hesitation for casting no Japanese American actors, and setting the Japanese story in the United States. In his review of the film, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote of the whitewashing: “In this case, it pointed toward an inability or unwillingness to meaningfully engage with the source material.”
That blatant disregard for the material, while fans couldn’t have known it then, is likely what earned Wingard such vitriol. “I made my peace with the fact that we’re never going to win those fans over, that there’s going to be people who are just not going to like that the movie exists at all,” said Wingard. “The second that I got attached to the film, I immediately got irate ‘Death Note’ fans telling me that I had ruined ‘Death Note’, before we had even finished the script, before we had casted anybody.”
For his next project, the filmmaker will take on one of the biggest properties in Hollywood, “Godzilla vs. King Kong.” Wingard has climbed steadily from indie horror films like “The Guest,” to “Blair Witch,” and “Death Note,” something he appreciates.
“Each film that I’ve done has been a step up budgetarily and it’s allowed me to mature as a director,” he said. “The good thing about those monster movies is that they do all feel like auteur pieces in a lot of ways…I definitely expect to give my stamp on it.”
Read the full interview here.