‘Snakes on a Plane’ director David R. Ellis, 60, dies | Inside Movies | EW.com

‘Snakes on a Plane’ director David R. Ellis, 60, dies | Inside Movies | EW.com.

Sad news.

Plus, he directed one so-so Final Destination movie (#4)(though also very gory, mean-spirited, and in 3D- we saw a midnight showing and while no-one in the place was scared, we all howled and applauded through the whole thing, and we all sure got every cent of entertainment we could from the ticket price) and another great Final Destination entry (FD2).  RIP.

I need to dig up my “I’ve had it with these mothafucking snakes on this mothafucking plane!” T-shirt to wear (which has nice a crisp, giant font size that almost takes up the entire shirt front, so I can only find an appropriate social occasion to wear it in public once a year or so). That may sound like kind of an offensive tribute, but it seems fitting, and I don’t think he’d mind. From the audience reaction when we saw SOAP opening night, you would have thought Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson had personally entered the theater to deliver that now-classic (if not classy) line. David Ellis and Samuel L. Jackson also were great together on the DVD commentary. Yes, I purchased a copy of Snakes On A Plane  on DVD at retail price !I admit it!  Proudly! It had a commentary with Sam Jackson and a really funny out-take reel, and I would still have bought it!   I was proud to say it back then and I’m proud to say it now!

Plenty of clever “commentators” on Facebook are carefully crafting Final Destination jokes about the cause of death to show how funny and cool they are. I must be getting old older older-ish…  since it would be nice if they waited a few days, till his loved ones finish making funeral/burial arrangements, you know, that kind of thing. Probably funny later (depending who comes up with the joke- Jeff Ross might fit it into his “Too Soon? portion of The Burn in the next couple weeks), not really funny now. Also it seems morbid to just pop right in Final Destination Two or The Final Destination.

Nope, I’ll listen to the SOAP commentary instead. There’s also a stunt director, the main snake wrangler, a script supervisor, and a small handful of others who introduce themselves at the beginning, (who all sound more than happy to let Ellis and Jackson do most of the talking, and sit back and be entertained). They both joke and laugh boisterously throughout the whole commentary (mostly laughing at Sam Jackson’s jokes, but that’s a guy who deserves to laugh at his own jokes, he’s earned it). They’d worked on four other projects together, but this was Ellis’ first chance to direct Samuel L. Jackson. He says when he got the offer after Ronnie Yu dropped out as director, he was thrilled to work with his friend (though he points out, “Well, you don’t really “direct” Sam, because he’s on and nails it first take, every time”). Also, when the studio marketing wanted to re-title it with the zesty, exciting title “Pacific Air,” SLJ had enough pull as an A-list star/actor to say he was only doing the movie if they used the title Snakes On A Plane:  “We’re gonna deliver what the fans want to see. From the beginning, when I heard the title… you know you in for an hour an a half of snakes attacking a plane! That’s it! I wanna be in that movie, ’cause I love that kind of movie.” Guess what title they ended up with…

Sample joke on commentary(about the straightforward title)-

SL.J: “Look, with this …either you wanna see the fuckin’ movie or you don’t. When I was a kid… Frankenstein meets the Wolfman.   Well, okay! That’s what you’re there for, that’s what you’re getting. You know, and… House on Haunted Hill.  You will see a haunted house on a hill. That’s it! That’s the movie, you’ll be entertained. No confusion there. Bam!”
Ellis: “Titanic should have been called Big Fucking Ship Hits Iceberg.”
(Uproarious laughter from everyone in the room)

David Ellis proudly points out his family members in cameos during the first act of the movie.  He also sounds completely genuine when he thanks the fans for the support, especially on the internet, that helped them make the fun popcorn movie–just a summer movie, entertainment, where you can escape and scream and have fun for 99 minutes– that they wanted to make.

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the scene where the snake rises out of the toilet in the airplane bathroom stall and suddenly chomps down (fangs fully out) on some poor passenger’s dick, and they get a chance to take a breath after Sam Jackson stops yelling things and cheering and Ellis finishes laughing,  he jokes, “You know, I’d like to point out something… every director has a legacy. And this is what I’m leaving.”

Samuel L Jackson responds, “And we are DOWN with that!”

Screen shot 2013-01-08 at 2.13.00 AM

Mr. Ellis will be missed.

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