Sometimes everything just comes together perfectly. Like when you separate an Oreo and all the creme is on one cookie. Or when you have exactly enough quarters to do your laundry. Or when the upcoming adaptation of the mega-popular Japanese manga and anime series Death Note casts Willem Dafoe as Ryuk the Shinigami. While I can’t speak to the first two, the third one just happened and it is a glorious development for the film.
According to Mashable, Dafoe, who is currently filming Justice League, has signed on to voice Ryuk the Shinigami in director Adam Wingard’s feature film version of Death Note. The film, which co-stars Nat Wolff, Keith Stanfield, Shea Whigham, Margaret Qualley, and Paul Nakauchi, will debut on Netflix in 2017.
The film will be based on Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s critically acclaimed manga, which follows Light Yagami (Nat Wolff), a high school student who comes across a mysterious notebook (the titular “Death Note”) with a terrible power: anyone who’s name he writes in the notebook will die within 24 hours. As the great poet Kanye West once said, “No one man should have all that power.” And it turns out he was right because Light soon goes a little bit crazy and uses the Death Note to purge the world of criminals, ruling over it with an iron fist.
So how does Dafoe’s character factor into all of this? Ryuk is a Shinigami (literally “death god” in Japanese), a race of extradimensional creatures that gain power from death. Bored with his existence, Ryuk drops the Death Note into our dimension to create a bit of mayhem. What follows is a self-righteous murdering spree in the name of “justice,” with Ryuk serving as a macabre, manipulative consigliere to Light’s power-drunk god-emperor.
Considering Dafoe’s acting resume–including two Oscar nominations; turns in genre fare like Spider-Man and John Wick; as well as voiceover roles in high-profile projects like Finding Nemo and Tales from Earthsea–this casting sounds like a real home run for the adaptation, and has elevated it considerably in my estimation.
Here’s hoping we’ll get an incredibly spooky voiceover, plus plenty of wet mouth noises due to the fact that Ryuk is constantly snacking on apples.
GIF via Giphy
What do you think of Willem Dafoe as Ryuk? Are you excited for the Death Note movie? Let us know in the comments below.
Image: Viz Media