Director David R. Ellis, of Snakes On A Plane fame, died in March 2013. Sarah remembers why his films were kind of great…
Just a quick update here: we've looked back at Snakes On A Plane, Ellis' highest profile film, in more detail here.
Usually, if a film isn’t screened for critics ahead of its release, it’s for a good reason. It’s because it’s terrible. But back in 2006, when Snakes On A Plane wasn’t shown to the press, it wasn’t because it was bad. It was because it didn’t matter. Nothing any critic said about Snakes On A Plane would affect whether the public went to see it or not. They’d already made up their minds for themselves, based solely on its wonderful title.
Luckily, the film pretty much lived up to the promise of its title. It was bold,
The brazenly trashy, cheap-and-cheerful B-movie is more or less defunct in modern cinema. One of its few authentic latter-day practitioners was the film-maker David R Ellis, who has been found dead at the age of 60 in a hotel in South Africa, where he was preparing to make a live-action version of the violent anime Kite.
Ellis came to widespread attention in 2006 when he directed Snakes on a Plane, the exploitation action thriller with a title that doubled as its own synopsis. Samuel L Jackson played an FBI agent on board a flight packed with venomous snakes planted to kill the witness who is in his care. There have been dumber and more precarious murder plots in the movies, but not many.
Ellis was brought in as a replacement for the original director, Ronny Yu. When word circulated online of a proposed
Born in Hollywood, Ellis began working in the film industry as a stuntman in his late teens. He was promoted as stunt coordinator in the 1981 and worked on over 70 films in a 20-year span, including Scarface, Lethal Weapon, and Fatal Attraction.
After working his way up to becoming an assistant director, Ellis then directed his first film in 1996 with Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco.
Following his directorial debut, Ellis segued into the thriller genre, churning out two Final Destination sequels and most notably, the 2006 film Snakes on a Plane starring Samuel L. Jackson.
Growing up in the water as a junior pro surfer, his most recent project was the underwater horror film Shark Night. Amongst a slew of his upcoming unreleased thriller films, Ellis directed
Syfy has announced an April 15 premier date for their very expensive Defiance -a drama series that will exist as both a TV series and a video game in collaboration with Trion Worlds. The show depicts a futuristic Earth with a boomtown set on the ruins of St. Louis that is now home to seven alien species and Earthlings. Rockne O’Bannon was the original showrunner before dropping out to work on the CW’s The Cult, but
Born in Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 1952, Ellis got his start in Hollywood as a stuntman, performing feats of derring-do in dozens of films, including "Scarface," "Lethal Weapon" and "Road House." He also served as second unit director on such big Hollywood productions as "Patriot Games," "The Negotiator," "The Matrix Reloaded," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
Ellis will probably be best remembered for his work as a gleefully subversive exploitation director. After making his directorial debut on "Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco" (1996), Ellis seemed to feel the most at home in the action-horror genre, conjuring gruesome and often astonishingly creative death scenes in "Final Destination 2
Ellis got his start as an actor and stuntman, transitioning into directing the second units on action-based productions like Waterworld, The Perfect Storm, The Matrix Reloaded, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. His feature directing debut was the 1996 family production Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco, but he quickly transitioned to genre-soaked thrillers starting with 2003′s Final Destination 2.
According to Deadline,
Deadline.com first reported Ellis' death, which HuffPost Entertainment confirmed with his management. No other information about his passing was immediately available. The director was in Johannesburg to work on the film "Kite," a live-action reboot of the famed Japanese anime about a young girl trained to be an assassin after the death of her parents. Samuel L. Jackson, who starred in Ellis' "Snakes on a Plane," was attached to star.
Ellis got his start in Hollywood as a stuntman on films like "Smokey and the Bandit II," "Rocky III" and "Lethal Weapon." He did second unit directorial work on "Clear and Present Danger," "Waterworld," "The Perfect Storm," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "The Matrix Reloaded."
Ellis made his directorial debut with the 1996 "Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco,
Ellis was 60 years old and started out in his career in Hollywood as an actor. From there he became a stuntman and stunt coordinator. In 1986, Ellis became a second unit directing, directing the action sequences on films such as Waterworld, The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. The first feature film he directed was Disney's film Homeward Bound 2: Lost In San Francisco. From there he went on to direct films such as Final Destination 2, Cellular, Asylum, The Final Destination and Shark Night 3D.
Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Born in Santa Monica, California on September 10, 1952, David R. Ellis began his career in the mid-1970s as an actor, stuntman, and stunt coordinator. He continued to work his way up the ladder as a second unit director on films such as Thunderheart, Clear and Present Danger, Waterworld, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and The Matrix Reloaded, just to name a few.
He made his feature directorial debut with Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco in 1996, followed by Final Destination 2, Cellular, Snakes on a Plane, Asylum, The Final Destination, and 2011's Shark Night 3D.
With two Final Destination movies and Snakes on a Plane in his filmography, David has already proven he knows a thing or two about big-budget action-packed horror movies that combine remarkable death scenes with lots of humor.
Now he comes back with his own take on the nature-"swimming"-amok horror sub-genre which started with Jaws.
Mikhael Agafonov: How does one move from directing Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco to doing Final Destination 2?
David R. Ellis: After directing ‘Homeward Bound 2’ I went back to directing action (2nd Unit) of big event films. It was the work I did on the Matrix sequel
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