by Marlan Moore | staff editor
Director David R. Ellis, best known for directing Samuel L. Jackson in cult hit Snakes on a Plane, passed away suddenly yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa while preparing for his adaptation of Kite. He was 60 years old. No cause of death has been reported.
The director’s planned adaptation of neo-noir anime Kite would have re-teamed him with his Snakes on a Plane star, Samuel L. Jackson.
Starting out as an actor in Los Angeles, Ellis went on to become second unit director on The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Ellis’ own films include horror film Final Destination 2, Kim Basinger vehicle Cellular, and Shark Night 3D.
“So sad to hear of David R Ellis passing! So talented, so kind, such a Good Friend. He’ll be missed. Gone too soon!” tweeted Samuel L. Jackson on the director’s death.
[Update] ANN reports that Kite creator Yasuomi Umetsu stated the following about Ellis’ death, and the future of the Kite live-action adaptation:
Just before filming began on the live-action Hollywood adaptation of Kite, director David Ellis passed away in a hotel in Johanesburg. He was 60. The reason behind his death hasn’t been officially announced, but he died of illness. I was also extremely shocked when I heard the news of his death… And it is such a shame I cannot even express.
This is because I was very much looking forward to seeing David’s talent. It was David who had ultimately ordered that the live-action script be brought closer to the anime version. At first, the live-action script changed the entire world and story so much that it became a completely different work. The one who brought it back to the original was David. Right when he came to begin filming, this happened… It’s such a shame and so distressing that I can’t stand it.
David, thank you for everything up until now. May you rest in peace…
Once we find someone to direct the live-action movie and get back to where we were, we can begin filming. The planning still continues, so for the sake of David as well, we are completing a great piece of work.