Former stunt co-oridinator-turned-director David R. Ellis has been found dead in South Africa while prepping production on his latest project KITE – an action thriller based on the same-titled Japanese anime and set to star Samuel L. Jackson. There is no word yet on his cause of death but it was said to be ‘sudden’ and unexpected.

Ellis began his film career in the 1970s, working on the likes of SMOKEY & THE BANDIT, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, SHARKY’S MACHINE and William Friedkin’s classic, modern noir, TO LIVE & DIE IN L.A. Countless others include SCARFACE, LETHAL WEAPON, ROADHOUSE and PATRIOT GAMES, before making his directorial debut with 1996s HOMEWARD BOUND 2 and then moving on to fun horror sequel FINAL DESTINATION 2, seven years later.

Other directing credits include chase-thriller CELLULAR, ASYLUM, SNAKES ON A PLANE, as well as return to the FINAL DESTINATION franchise with the fourth film. His final effort behind the camera before todays sad announcement was 2011s SHARK NIGHT 3D.

R.I.P. David R. Ellis, from all of us here at THN.

Source: Deadline