Japan’s domestic box office was set ablaze last year with not one but two films based on DEATH NOTE, the wildly popular manga about Light Yagami, a young man with the ability to kill by merely jotting a person’s name into a mysterious notebook, and his attempts to use it to rid the world of its criminal underbelly.
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko, known to genre fans for his Gamera film series of the 1990s and GODZILLA: GMK, his 2001 entry in the Big G franchise, DEATH NOTE and its sequel DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME pulled in a reported $67 million in ticket sales—which, for a nation roughly the size of California, qualifies it as a cinematic phenomenon. This week, Nippon TV, the DEATH NOTEs’ production and planning company, has confirmed the rumor that a third in the movie series is on the way. This new film is to be directed by Hideo Nakata, who has left an indelible mark on horror cinema with such films as RINGU and DARK WATER.
More a spinoff than a sequel, the new DEATH NOTE, being shot under the working title of “L,” will center on the early years of L, the genius detective with a penchant for sweets, who will once again be played by Kenichi Matsuyama. Nakata begins shooting “L” this August, with a Japanese theatrical run set for the first half of 2008.