On Monday, director David R. Ellis died in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to Deadline, Ellis, 60, who helmed the airplane-thriller Snakes on a Plane, passed suddenly.
The cause of his death is not yet known. Ellis was in South Africa preparing to direct the live-action film adaption of Kite, which would have reunited Ellis with his Snakes star Samuel L. Jackson. The film Kite was based on a hit 1998 Japanese anime comic.
Ellis, born in 1952, began his Hollywood career as a stuntman on films like Smokey and the Bandit, Rocky II and III and Lethal Weapon. He moved on to second unit directing in 1986, directing the action sequences on films such as Waterworld, The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. His first directing gig was on the Disney film Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco in 1996. Next up was Final Destination 2 in 2003 and Cellular in 2004.
After helming Snakes on a Plane in 2006 he went on to direct Asylum in 2008 and Shark Night 3D in 2011. Ellis also did second unit directing on the upcoming Winter’s Tale starring Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)