Exclusive Q&A - David R. Ellis Talks Shark Night 3D
Who would have thought back in 1996, when stuntman-turned-director David R. Ellis made his directorial debut with a sequel to the family movie Homeward Bound that he would go down in movie history as one of the main faces of horror cinema of the 00s?
With two Final Destination movies and Snakes on a Plane in his filmography, David has already proven he knows a thing or two about big-budget action-packed horror movies that combine remarkable death scenes with lots of humor.
Now he comes back with his own take on the nature-"swimming"-amok horror sub-genre which started with Jaws.
Mikhael Agafonov: How does one move from directing Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco to doing Final Destination 2?
David R. Ellis: After directing ‘Homeward Bound 2’ I went back to directing action (2nd Unit) of big event films. It was the work I did on the Matrix sequel (the freeway car chase) that got me the interview for ‘Final Destination 2’ because of the opening highway sequence in the movie.
MA: Does your stuntman past help you create better action scenes in your movies nowadays?
DRE: Being a stuntman helps me understand how the action is going to unfold and also the best way to capture it. By being a stuntman and coming up thru the ranks, it helped me understand what everyone's job was and understand their contributions to the film.
MA: You’ve done lots of horror movies by now. What’s the key to a good horror film?
DRE: The key to a good horror film is to keep the audience guessing, and to scare them when they are not expecting it.
MA: Sharks have been a vital part of horror movies for a long time ever since Jaws. What makes them so appealing?
DRE: People have a natural fear and interest in sharks, 'Jaws' was a big part of that.
MA: How does 3D technology help when you’re doing a horror movie? Do you think 3D will stay popular for a while?
DRE: I love 3D, it is an interactive experience for an audience and the depth of the 3D world is amazing. Is it overused, yes, but I think it will stay with us for the right projects.
MA: With Shark Night you have a very attractive cast with lots of familiar faces. How important is good casting to a horror movie in your opinion?
DRE: It is all about cast. With the best script, if you do not have the right cast, your movie will suck!
MA: Is there a sequel possibility to Shark Night?
DRE: If ‘Shark Night’ does well at the box office we will definitely see a second one.
MA: Snakes on a plane had a tremendous amount of Internet hype. How good is the Internet as a marketing tool?
DRE: The Internet is a great market tool, but you cannot rely on it as the only way to get your film out to your fans.
MA: Final Destination franchise seems to be far from over. Will you return to it in the future?
DRE: I have done two ‘Final Destination’ movies. So I’d love to look for an action comedy instead of another ‘Final Destination’ sequel.
MA: And finally - what’s your favorite death scene you ever shot?
DRE: I liked when the kid in ‘Final Destination 2’ got squashed by the plane of glass outside the dentist office.
Thanks to David for speaking with Dread Central.
Relativity Media’s Shark Night 3D stars Sara Paxton (Superhero Movie, Last House on the Left), Dustin Milligan (“90210,” Slither), Chris Carmack (“The O.C.”), Joel David Moore (Avatar, Hatchet) and Katharine McPhee (The House Bunny).
Look for it in theatres on September 2nd.
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