Some actors fit roles perfectly in the realm of comic book movies, but to adapt anime into the live-action format is never easy, especially if that anime character wears glam rock clothing. Adam Wingard, the director of the live-action adaptation of Death Note revealed that he had previously wanted David Bowie or Prince to play the role of the demon Ryuk before both had passed away.
“Well, as a matter of fact, David Bowie was actually originally who I wanted to [be the voice of] Ryuk—but then David Bowie died.” He continued, “And then the second person on my list was Prince, weirdly enough—and then he died. And I was like, we got to stop, we’re literally killing them off. Which is really morbid, but it was true.”
The director went on to talk about his motivations behind the choices after describing the character:
“there’s not a ton of precedent in American live-action films [for] a demon wearing glam rock clothing and leather pants and stuff.”
Bowie had always taken on bizarre roles ranging from the Goblin King in Labyrinth to a personal favorite of mine, Philip Jefferies in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. The role Ultimately went to Willem Defoe, who is definitely able to portray a lot of creepy and eccentric character. Below is a clip of the first encounter of Light and Ryuk in the live-action Death Note, which is available right now on Netflix!