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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In Memoriam: Director David Ellis

Written by Kirk Baird

David Ellis, a longtime stuntman turned director best known for his work behind the camera on Snakes on a Plane and The Final Destination, died Monday in South Africa, where he was in pre-production for a new film. The cause of death is unknown, his agent David Boxerbaum told the Los Angeles Times. Ellis was 60.

According to his bio page on, Ellis began work in Hollywood as a child actor, appearing in the Kurt Russell Disney films of the 1970s, including 1975’s The Strongest Man in the World. He then moved to stunt work and has 75 credits to his name, including 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit, 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1983’s Vacation and Scarface, 1987’s Lethal Weapon, 1990’s Days of Thunder, and 1992’s Patriot Games.

Ellis’s first directorial effort was 1996’s family film Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco, followed mostly by horror films: Final Destination 2 in 2003, Snakes on a Plane in 2006, Asylum in 2008, The Final Destination in 2009, and Shark Night 3D in 2011. He also directed the 2004 Jason Statham action-thriller Cellular. Ellis worked as second unit director or assistant director on 42 film and TV projects, including 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and 2003’s The Matrix Reloaded and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, as well as the upcoming graphic novel-turned film R.I.P.D. and the samurai revenge action movie 47 Ronin.

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