The Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross, have recently announced their new production company called Upside Down Pictures. The new company’s reveal has also come with the announcement of the upcoming project slate coming from the Stranger Things creators, one of which includes an all-new live-action television series adaptation of the renowned Japanese manga and anime series Death Note.
Death Note began life as a manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The series ran from 2003 to 2006. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who comes across the titular Death Note, a black book that gives him the ability to kill anyone he writes into it as long as he knows their name and face. Light begins to use the book to kill criminals and is eventually visited by Ryuk, a Shinigami that had dropped the Death Note to Earth. As criminals all around the world begin to inexplicably drop dead, the enigmatic detective simply known as L is brought in to learn who the killer is, who they call “Kira.” The series was adapted into an anime series in 2006 and ran into 2007 for 37 episodes and was directed by Tetsurō Araki, who went on to work on multiple Attack on Titan projects and was the director of the recent Netflix anime film Bubble.
Death Note in both written and animated forms is one of the most recognizable and acclaimed series in the world, with it winning many awards over the years and the anime series holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes
This is not the first time that Death Note has had a live-action adaptation, with there being several adaptations made in Japan since 2006. Netflix has also previously tried its hand at an adaptation with a Death Note live-action film in 2017 directed by Godzilla vs. King Kong director Adam Wingard. The adaptation moved the setting from Japan to Seattle, Washington and starred Nat Wolff as Light Turner, Lakeith Stanfield as L, and Willem Defoe, who provided the voice for Ryuk (Jason Liles played the character in costume). The American adaptation was not well received, currently sitting at a critic score of 37% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Along with the reveal of the Death Note project, the announcement of Upside Down Pictures also confirmed many other key aspects of the company and its upcoming slate. It was confirmed that Hilary Leavitt (Orphan Black, Ozark) has been hired to run the company. Other announced projects that will be coming from the brand-new company include a live-action Stranger Things spin-off series based on an original idea by The Duffer Brothers, with Upside Down and 21 Laps producing. A new stage play set within the world and mythology of Stranger Things, produced by prolific and multi-award-winning producers Sonia Friedman, Stephen Daldry (The Crown, Billy Elliot, The Reader), and Netflix which Daldry will direct is also in the works.
Other projects include a series adaptation of Stephen King and Peter Straub‘s The Talisman which will be produced alongside Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Paramount Television to be created by Curtis Gwinn, and an original series from Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance). The company will be developing both film and television projects as part of the Duffer Brothers‘ overall deal with Netflix.
According to The Duffer Brothers, Upside Down Pictures will “aim to create the kind of stories that inspired the Duffers growing up – stories that take place at that beautiful crossroads where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, where big spectacle co-exists with intimate character work, where heart wins out over cynicism.” The pair have recently released season 4 of Stranger Things to Netflix, which is now at the top of Netflix’s all-time Most Popular English TV series.
There are currently no details of when the new live-action adaptation of Death Note will start production or when the series can be expected to release.