David R. Ellis, the director of "Snakes on a Plane," died in South Africa on Monday. He was 60.
Deadline.com first reported Ellis' death, which HuffPost Entertainment confirmed with his management. No other information about his passing was immediately available. The director was in Johannesburg to work on the film "Kite," a live-action reboot of the famed Japanese anime about a young girl trained to be an assassin after the death of her parents. Samuel L. Jackson, who starred in Ellis' "Snakes on a Plane," was attached to star.
Ellis got his start in Hollywood as a stuntman on films like "Smokey and the Bandit II," "Rocky III" and "Lethal Weapon." He did second unit directorial work on "Clear and Present Danger," "Waterworld," "The Perfect Storm," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "The Matrix Reloaded."
Ellis made his directorial debut with the 1996 "Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco," and followed that with another sequel, "Final Destination 2." The 2003 film earned $90 million worldwide. He later directed "Cellular" (with Chris Evans) and the aforementioned "Snakes on a Plane." The R-rated film was an internet sensation thanks to its literal title and classic lead performance from Jackson (sample dialogue: "I have had it with these motherf--king snakes on this motherf--king plane"). "Snakes on a Plane" earned $62 million worldwide.
Ellis' last film was the 3D release "Shark Night" in 2011. He also did second unit work on 2013 releases "R.I.P.D." and "47 Ronin."