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INT: David R. Ellis

04.07.2002by: The Arrow

The Arrow interviews David R. Ellis

Hey gore fiends, Arrow recently had the chance to speak with director David R. Ellis who's presently shooting Final Destination 2 and here's what he had to say about this very anticipated sequel to the original smash hit. It's looking real good...


ARROW: Being that this is your first horror movie, are you a big horror fan?

DAVID: Iím a big fan of movies in general; I wasnít a huge genre follower prior to this film though. There are a lot of horror films that I liked obviously and I watched a lot more once I got the job to see what other directors have done with the genre.

ARROW: You have a lot of background in stunts, Second Unit director and AD work. How did you get into directing? Was it by fluke or an ambition of yours?

DAVID: Iíve been in the biz for 30 years and Iíve been a second unit director for about 15 years. Iíve never been an AD, Iím not sure why thatís on the IMDb but my background was that I started as a stuntman and then moved on to second unit directing and yes, directing was kind of an ambition for a long time. Second unit is like an extension of directing, youíre doing big action sequences on film and it was just something I was going after. Once I got the offer from New Line and we got a good script, it was kind of a natural transition.


ARROW: Did you watch the original "Final Destination" or did you purposely try to stay away from it?

DAVID: I wanted our film to be able to stand alone but I watched it to see what they did that was so successful. I tried to use some of that while trying to keep a stand-alone feel for our movie. I kind of took what worked and tried to improve on it.

ARROW: What I liked about the original is that it was a teen-oriented flick that more mature audiences could also appreciate. Are you going for that same vibe with the sequel?

DAVID: Absolutely, itís got a great story, it's got solid action and visually...itís going to be exciting to look at. Weíre not just going for the slasher type crowds.

ARROW: What was it about the FD2 screenplay that appealed to you?

DAVID: The first one was obviously successful and it had a huge fan base and I think the writers for FD2 kind of raised the bar and took it to a new level. Again, I used everything that worked in the first one and improved upon it. We put some twists in it so that itís not so predictable for the audience and we kind of have death working backwards this time around.

ARROW: Did you have a lot of input in the script itself?

DAVID: Yeah, I spent 4 months developing the script with the writers, the producers and the studio prior to starting shooting.

ARROW: We all know that Devon Sawa isnít returning for the sequel. Is his character mentioned or at least his fate addressed?

DAVID: Itís mentioned that he has died between the two films. When we find Rivers (Larter) she mentions the fact that heís died 5 months earlier.


ARROW: Iím going to go more into details regarding Final Destination 2. The Tony Todd character returns from the first one. In the grand scheme of things, has his position expanded for the sequel?

DAVID: Heís pretty much the same character that he was in the original. He sets up some clues for the teens to follow in order for them to try to cheat death or to keep death from coming at them. Itís the same character that we saw before that the audience loved.

ARROW: Does Tony have more screen time than in the first one?

DAVID: No, he pretty much has the same amount as in the first. The teens go visit him to try to find answers and they meet him at the crematorium where heís working on one of the dead bodies just like in the first. He gives them some clues.

ARROW: Does Ali Larter have a cameo, a supporting or a lead role in the film?

DAVID: Sheís a lead in the film, her and a new girl named A.J. Cook.

ARROW: Iím actually a big fan of A.J., knowing her work from her prior genre films, what made you decide on her during the audition process?

DAVID: She was just awesome, we probably saw 200 people for that part and A.J. clearly stood out as being the strongest actress, she has a great range and could do all the emotional stuff very well and yet sheís also very strong which her character needed to be.

ARROW: Anybody else in terms of casting that stands out?

DAVID: They all do, Michael Landes who plays Thomas the police Officer is great, T.C. Carson who plays Eugene is solid, theyíre all really strong actors.


ARROW: What are you going for with this film? Is it more suspense oriented, very gory, extreme stunt set pieces?

DAVID: Weíre just trying to make a real movie thatís exciting and thrilling. The action isnít carrying the film, the story is, but we have great action surrounding that and as far as the gore, obviously a lot of people die in the film and we make it very visually exciting but weíre still not going over-the-top with it.

ARROW: Was one of your goals to outdo the original in terms of creativity when it came to the kill sequences?

DAVID: No offence to the first one, but with every sequel you try to make it better than the original. For me, one of the best sequences was when the girl got killed by a bus so we tried to pattern sequences that would have as much shock value without making them hokey. Sometimes less is more but I think we have 9 great death sequences.

ARROW: What rating are you guys going for?

DAVID: This is definitely an R rating. Once you start chopping peopleís heads off, it's hard to get away from it.

ARROW: Overall, what kind of ride do want to take the audience to take?

DAVID: I want it to be a non-stop, thrill ride. We have a great opening sequence that happens on the freeway, where there's a huge crash sequence that becomes the premonition that Kimberly (Cook) has. We then let the audience breathe a little and then grab them again till the end. We totally manipulate the audience for the duration of the movie.


ARROW: Does the film end with an opening for a sequel?

DAVID: Definitely.

ARROW Are you signed on for any future sequels?

DAVID: I am, New Line has me signed on to the next one if this one works and I think itís going to work really well.

ARROW: Thank you for your time David.

DAVID: I really appreciate it.

ARROW: Take care!

I'd like to thanks David for his time. I don't know about you guys but I have a little more faith in terms of this sequel's quality after this. I hope it rocks!



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