Director David R. Ellis has died in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Snakes On A Plane helmer passed away suddenly early this morning Los Angeles-time, Deadline has learned. Ellis was 60 years old. Cause of death is not yet known. Ellis was in South Africa preparing to direct the film KITE. The director’s live-action adaptation of the 1998 Japanese anime was set to reunite Ellis with his Snakes star Samuel L. Jackson.
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.
The director is survived by his wife Cindy, and their daughter, Tawny.