Netflix released a new trailer for the upcoming movie “Death Note” on Thursday.
An adaptation of the popular Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the film stars Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley and Lakeith Stanfield and features Willem Dafoe as the voice of its iconic villain, Ryuk. Directed by Adam Wingard, who also made “The Guest,” “Blair Witch” and the upcoming “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the movie will released on August 25.
In the story, Light Turner (Wolff) is a high school student who discovers a notebook with the power to kill those whose names are written in it. Though he attempts to use the book for what he believes to be good — “It’s not going to solve a few crimes,” he says in the trailer, “it’s going to solve all crime” — things quickly spiral out of control, putting him in a cat-and-mouse chase with the mysterious detective known as L (Stanfield).
Lakeith Stanfield in "Death Note." (Netflix)
When an earlier teaser was released in March, it garnered immediate pushback online for relocating the action from Tokyo to Seattle and showing little material with Stanfield or anyone from the cast who was not white.
That teaser came out amidst a media storm around issues of whitewashing, most specifically in the recent big-budget movie adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell,” and received much of the same criticism. Whether it was done in response to such criticisms, the new trailer features more footage of Stanfield and Paul Nakauchi, both actors of color.
“Death Note” producer Roy Lee has been involved with many projects that remade Asian movies by relocating the action stateside, most famously with the “Ring” movies.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Lee noted that he had never before received such a response to one of his adaptations, adding, “People can criticize it, but I’d say that they should see the movie first. … Then they could accuse us of not having a diverse enough cast.”
(Jordan Strauss / Associated Press) Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny star in "The X-Files." (Murray Close / Netflix)