Edit
David R. Ellis Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (24) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 September 1952Santa Monica, California, USA
Date of Death 7 January 2013Johannesburg, South Africa
Birth NameDavid Richard Ellis
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Began as child actor in Kurt Russell-Disney Films in 1974. Made the switch to the Stunt world following a successful career as a junior pro surfer. Born, bred, and continues to reside in Malibu. Many, many stunts later, David made the promotion to Stunt Coordinator in 1978 on Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). Coordinating TV and films all over the world brought him up to the position of 2nd Unit Director on Gorky Park (1983). "Action" movies proceeded to explode along with David's career. Befriending Harrison Ford, two of David's most notable 2nd units were Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994). As shown in Filmography, he worked back-to-back until the break from Disney, offering to 1st unit Direct the feature, Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996). Directorial debut grossed over $100 Million. Just completing, two, yet-to-be-released features for 1997, Desperate Measures (1998) & Sphere (1998) with Barry Levinson.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Cindy Ellis (? - 7 January 2013) (his death) (3 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Characters in unexpected peril
"In-Your-Face" camera shots

Trivia (5)

Brother of Annie Ellis
Father of Tawny Ellis.
Father-in-law of Oakley Lehman.
Ellis's wife Cindy was also in the stunt sector.
Ellis worked as Second AD on Cop Out (2009) directing the car chases. After Ellis' passing director of Cop Out Kevin Smith repeated this story told to him by Ellis, "Ellis told me a story about nearly getting car-jacked. Stunt man that he was, he did a 0 to 60 spinning reverse. Agog, the jackers ran off.".

Personal Quotes (24)

Waterworld was the best time of my life. It was physically demanding, but it was fun. I mean, you're in Hawaii for nine months shooting on the water every day.
Well, I think on second units it's all about execution. Because you come in there, you don't have to worry so much about the studio and all the other actors and all that.
Yeah, getting the company that would help advertise and cross promote the movie on the release was an important factor for New Line, so we went out to a lot of different companies.
They had some really cool rigged cars and things that were different that they would tow behind the camera car that were actually on these trailers that manipulated side to side and stuff like they were getting hit, and actually put the actor right in the middle of the chase.
It was great. I mean, it's a blast directing underwater stuff.
Fourth Law of Thermodynamics: If the probability of success is not almost one, then it is damn near zero.
I jumped 18 cars on a motorcycle, so I did almost everything.
No, we always had something to do because I did all the wave runners and jet skis and boats approaching the atolls and stuff like that, so you could do that without showing the actual atoll or the set that you're going towards, but detailing all those guys racing towards it.
So then I started doing a lot of episodic TV, just car chases or helicopter chases or whatever.
No, in Lethal Weapon I was a taxi cab driver that Mel jumps in front of the taxi and pulls me out of the car and steals the taxi. Then I did some other indie driving for some of the car sequences.
They do think it is a big summer movie and that's why they want to give it a great chance, but they don't want to go up against Spider-Man 2 or some of the other big movies, the $100 million films that are coming up.
We're talking to New Line. They've got a couple projects they're interested in me doing and I'm having meetings at MGM. There's a lot of available projects.
So there was always a stunt coordinator on those films that was from Stunts Unlimited and I was just one of the young warriors from Stunts Unlimited that got to be a part of it because it was a big show and they needed a lot of guys.
You have to understand the tone of the movie, because if it's supposed to be funny, it can be funny violent like the Home Alone stuff, but you have to really understand the tone of what you're doing and make the action work for that and for the character.
I felt that if there wasn't going to be a good opportunity, then I would just go back to second units which I love, keep working with great directors, keep learning and knowing that the opportunity would come when the time was right.
I like Soderbergh, Spielberg, Lucas. There's a lot of talented guys out there obviously, and if you're a fan of films, you have to look at that stuff and learn from them.
I mean, you have a general tone of it but it's pretty much you get to come in and you're going to flip this car and it's going to blow up and you're going to come out on fire and you go oh, that's cool, and then you get paid a lot of money.
It's just about going out and getting the shot, so I have a great understanding of how to execute it, so that really helps me, and also having a good understanding of all the action that I'm shooting, it helps me in determining how I'm going to capture it.
I think my biggest break though came probably on Patriot Games because it was the biggest, longest second unit up to that point. It was like five months of shooting and a huge crew.
You don't get a chance to take a breath but when you do, you have some really good comedy moments that ease up on the tension that the movie is centered around which is Kim being kidnapped and her son and husband being kidnapped and the jeopardy that they're in.
Comedy. I think that's something I'd really like to do.
Its pretty rare for companies to have a snooping policy, although it is getting more common.
Unless you go out and say what you stand for, other people will do it for you.
Chris Columbus was really interesting to watch how he works with children.

Salary (1)

Asylum (2008) $1,250,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page