One of our favorite directors here at CraveOnline has passed away very suddenly today: David R. Ellis, the filmmaker behind such enteraining genre efforts as Cellular, Final Destination 2 and Snakes on a Plane, was found dead in Johannesberg, South Africa, at the age of 60 while prepping his latest thriller, an adaptation of the popular anime Kite. The cause of death has not yet been determined.
Although we loved Ellis's films at CraveOnline, their freewheeling, entertaining natures didn't turn on every film critic, and few of his films were bona fide smash successes. If Snakes on a Plane and Cellular don't do it for you, you should know that Ellis got his start as an actor and stuntperson, eventually moving to second unit direction. That means that, while the films themselves are credited to other directors, the actual action sequences on motion pictures like The Matrix Reloaded, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Perfect Storm, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Master Commander: The Far Side of World, were all brought to you by Ellis, who made his first-unit directorial debut with 1996's Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco. David R. Ellis also performed stunts in such classic films as Smokey & the Bandit, The Beastmaster, Scarface and To Live and Die in L.A.
The news was announced by Deadline. Our hearts go out to Mr. Ellis's friends, family and co-workers. You can read our interview with David R. Ellis from 2011's release of Shark Knight here.