Film director David R. Ellis is reported to have passed away at age 60 in Johannesburg, South Africa of undisclosed causes. The Snakes on a Plane director was in South Africa at the time to prepare for a live-action adaptation of crime tragedy anime Kite, which was to have starred Samuel L. Jackson.
Born in Los Angeles on September 10, 1952, Ellis started out in Hollywood as an actor and then stuntman and stunt coordinator. In addition to directing movies like Final Destination 2, Cellular and Shark Night 3D, he helmed action sequences on films such as The Matrix Reloaded and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The live-action Kite was scheduled to start filming this month with a budget of $12 million.
Variety described the adaptation as a character-driven actioner centered on a young woman living in a failed state, post-financial collapse, where the corrupt security force profits on the trafficking of young women. When her father, a cop, is slain by someone dirty inside the force, she vows to track the murderer down with the help of her father's ex-partner.