Until Warner Bros. gives us an official announcement, we can't categorically say that director Shane Black has walked away from the Death Note live action movie adaptation.
Even if IMDb, and half of the internet, lists Gus van Sant as Death Note director now.
However that hasn't stopped people from speculating about the switch. Most simply point out that Shane Black's star has risen into the stratosphere, since he first agreed to direct the US film adaptation of Death Note.
It was right there when he just had Iron Man 3 to do, then he had that choice between Doc Savage and Death Note. He opted for the former. But suddenly more and more have bee piled onto his directorial plate. He's doing The Nice Guys and he's been linked with the latest Predator sequel.
It might be that he no longer has the time to direct Death Note. Or Warner Bros. got sick of waiting for him to be free. Even if Shane Black was at the helm, we wouldn't see a Death Note US movie for several more years to come.
The above led to irreconcilable differences between the director and Warner Bros., which ultimately resulted in a parting of ways.
This half chimes with what Shane Black told Long Beach Comic Con back in October 2011. Then he revealed long-running disagreements over the direction of the Death Note story. He wanted an adaptation that was faithful to the manga, but Warner Bros. kept pushing for one that was morally black and white, with Kira more the flawed anti-hero than anyone who could be considered 'evil'.
Every one of Yagami's actions had to be justified within the pursuit of justice; and the 'demon' shinigamis had to go. It was Shane who fought for none of that to happen.
My reading of the situation is that Lavado has switched the views of Shane Black and Warner Bros. What do you think?
- And muchas gracias to Álvaro for alerting me to the Spanish language report.