Helmer David R. Ellis dies at 60

Directed 'Snakes on a Plane,' 'Final Destination 2'

David R. Ellis, veteran stuntman and director of “Snakes on a Plane” and “Final Destination 2,” died Monday morning in Johannesburg, South Africa, while preparing to direct anime adaptation “Kite.” He was 60.

Early indications are that Ellis died of a sudden heart attack, though the official cause of death has not been confirmed.

Born in Los Angeles, Ellis started his Hollywood career as a stuntman and stunt coordinator on such hits as “Scarface,” “Lethal Weapon” and “Fatal Attraction.” He graduated to second unit director on films including “Waterworld,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “The Matrix Reloaded” before making his helming debut with “Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco.”

Ellis’ more recent directing credits include “Final Destination 2,” “Cellular,” “Snakes on a Plane” and “Shark Night 3D.” He had just finished directing second unit on Universal’s upcoming tentpoles “47 Ronin” and “R.I.P.D,” as well as Akiva Goldsman’s “Winter’s Tale.”

A live-action adaptation of the 1998 Japanese anime, “Kite” would’ve reteamed Ellis with his “Snakes on a Plane” star Samuel L. Jackson, who was not immediately available for comment.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

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