Three years ago it was announced that a live action feature film adaptation of the anime and Japanese manga Death Note would be directed by Iron Man 3's Shane Black. It seems Black has dropped out of the project, and Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant could be stepping in to take his place.
These are two very different directors with very different styles, and I never imagined that Van Sant would ever do an anime adaptation. The guy is very talented, he likes to experiment, and maybe this is just something he would like to try his hand at.
The news comes from The Tracking Board, and they give no reason as to why Black left. I can only imagine that if he's been working on this for three years and nothing has come together that he'd be ready to move on. Then there's also the fact that he has been hired to write and direct a Predator sequel for Fox.
I've been on an anime kick recently, and I actually watched the first episode of Death Note yesterday and I loved it! The manga series was written by Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata and it centers around a high school student named Light Yagami, who finds a book called the Death Note which has the power to kill anyone whose name is written within it. Here's a more detailed description of the story:
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life? Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?
If Van Sant actually does come on board to direct this movie, it will be incredibly interesting to see how he brings it to life. It's really hard to imagine what he might do with it because he changes up his filmmaking style, and is always trying new things. He is currently working on a movie called Sea of Trees, with Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe.