Trying to embody Light, the mystical murderer at the center of Death Note, can’t be easy. In a recent interview, actor Nat Wolff shared that his process led him down kind of a dark path.
Talking to ScreenCrush, Wolff revealed that, in the process of figuring out how to operate in the role, he made his own Death Note.
“And I was surprised—as soon as I got the role, I was like, “Well I’d never be able to write any names in the Death Note. You’d have to be a psycho to do that,’” he said. “But soon I made my own Death Note. I started writing and then it was just flowing off my pen more easily than you’d believe.”
Eep. What’s interesting about this, though, is how it’s a pretty clear reflection of how Light is received and framed by his story and the audience. For all his villainy, Light is the viewpoint character in all iterations of Death Note, and the framing is such that even if his methods are abhorred, the audience is encouraged to empathize with him. There’s something relatable about his drive to take matters into his own hands, something that taps into our worst impulses toward vengeance and self-righteousness. That’s what’s scary about the Death Note. If we all stopped to think about it, we’d probably have names we’d want to write down.
As for Nat’s? “I had to burn it,” he told ScreenCrush. “It was too bad.”
That was probably the right choice.