Though Netflix already made a go at adapting writer Tsugumi Ohba and illustrator Takeshi Obata’s Death Note back in 2017, the streamer’s gearing up to give it another go with the help of the Duffer Brothers.
Fresh off the success of Stranger Things 4 Vol. 2, Netflix announced today that Matt and Ross Duffer have renewed their deal to develop multiple projects for the platform and formed Upside Down Pictures, a new production house named for the dimension at the center of their sci-fi opus. In a public statement about Upside Down Pictures, the Duffers shared that producer Hilary Leavitt (Orphan Black, Ozark) has been tapped to head the studio and expressed confidence in her ability to make it a success.
“It didn’t take long into our first meeting with Hilary, where we bonded over films like Jaws, Home Alone, and Speed, to know we had found a kindred spirit,” the Duffers said. “Hilary’s passion for storytelling is perhaps matched only by her passion for the storytellers themselves, for whom she is fiercely protective. No wonder so many writers and directors are drawn to working with her.”
According to the Duffer Bros., their goal with Upside Down Pictures is to tell the kinds of stories that light them up as young film lovers — “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.” To that end, Upside Down plans to produce a number of new series with similar narrative DNA to Stranger Things.
In addition to a Stranger Things spinoff show and stage play directed by Stephen Daldry, Upside Down Pictures is also working on an untitled original series created by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance). Upside Down Pictures will also adapt existing properties, like Curtis Gwinn’s take on Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman, but the project that’s most likely to intrigue audiences is the studio’s upcoming spin on Death Note.
Netflix did not announce any hard details about Upside Down Pictures’ Death Note, like whether it would be at all related to the studio’s 2017 film. But given how poorly that movie and many of Netflix’s other attempts at reworking beloved anime classics have been received, it’ll be something if Upside Down Pictures’ Death Note manages to impress when it eventually debuts.