David R. Ellis, director of the (in?)famous Snakes on a Plane, and the director slated to be at the helm of a live-action remake of the anime Kite (compare prices), was reported dead in a Johannesburg, South Africa hotel room, according to Hitfix.com. No cause of death was reported.
Ellis, who had also directed Cellular, Final Destination 2 and Shark Night 3D, had lined up Snakes star Samuel L. Jackson to also appear in Kite, in an undetermined role.
Kite is a deeply controversial anime title, even to this day. The story involves a young girl forced to become an assassin, and who unleashes untold amounts of mayhem on just about everyone who crosses her path. Video releases of the title were originally shorn of much explicit footage (including a rape scene involving the main character), but the most recent editions of the film appear to be completely uncut.
No replacement director for Ellis has been chosen yet, nor is it clear if the production is even going to continue without him.
Image: Kite, courtesy Pricegrabber.