Some very sad – and decidedly shocking – news to report today as David R Ellis, perhaps professionally best known to some as the director of Snakes On A Plane and a couple of Final Destination films, has died in Johannesburg at the age of 60.
A native of California, Ellis cracked the film world via acting in his younger days, appearing in the likes of 1975 Kurt Russell pic The Strongest Man In The World.
He seemed to find his true calling as a stunt man and co-ordinator, orchestrating set pieces for such films as Scarface, To Live And Die In LA, Patriot Games, Misery, Days Of Thunder and Lethal Weapon. He made the somewhat natural segue to second unit director and jumped the director's chair with Final Destination 2.
From there he went on to make thriller Cellular, the pop culturally iconic Snakes On A Plane, Asylum, The Final Destination and, most recently, Shark Night 3D.
Though his helming career might not be best remembered for the quality of the movies, his enthusiasm, charisma and eye for a good action scene will certainly be missed. The cause of his death isn’t known, but he apparently died suddenly while in the midst of preparing to make his next project, an adaptation of anime title Kite that would have reunited him with Snakes’ Samuel L Jackson.