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Death Note Film’s Latest Casting News Fuels Protest of Hollywood Whitewashing


You may have heard that Warner Bros. is adapting the popular manga/anime series Death Note into a film. Back in September, Nat Wolff was cast as the lead, Light Yagami. (Yeah. Yagami – or they’ll probably change that) Now, the most recent casting announcement has fans hitting Twitter to express their extreme displeasure.

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For those who don’t know, here’s the synopsis according to Deadline Hollywood:

The story follows a student who, after discovering a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone by writing the victim’s name, attempts to cleanse the world of evil by using the book.

Margaret Qualley

The Leftovers‘ Margaret Qualley is close to negotiating a deal for the role of the female lead, Misa Amane. That’s two white leads in a story that is not only based on Japanese source material, but actually takes place in Japan and for which Japan and Japanese culture is integral to the story. The entire idea of the shinigami (the death gods who control the notebook at the center of all this) is based in Japanese folklore, and just about every aspect of this story is dependent on Japanese story elements.

Needless to say, people are not happy that the American adaptation of this particular story is being whitewashed. Especially considering that Japanese actor Masi Oka (Heroes) and Roy Lee, an American of Korean descent are on board as producers. As they’re wont to do, fans expressed themselves on Twitter:

There’s no word yet on what’s in screenwriter Jeremy Slater’s script or how he’ll be adapting the story, but at this point, the fact that the casting is what it is doesn’t inspire hope in fans who are already hoping that this film fails, hoping that Hollywood finally learns a lesson about whitewashing:

Roy Lee has successfully shepherded adaptations of other Asian properties like The Ring and The Grudge, whitewashed though they were. Do you think there’s any hope for this Death Note adaptation? Will you be seeing it?

(via The Daily Dot; Image of Qualley via Getty Images)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.