Director David R. Ellis died early Monday morning at 60 years old in Johannesburg, South Africa. The cause of death is unknown.
Ellis was in South Africa preparing to direct the live-action film KITE, an adaptation of the 1998 Japanese anime reuniting him with his Snakes on a Plane star Samuel L. Jackson.
Born in Los Angeles on September 10, 1952, Ellis had a long career in the entertainment industry, first as an actor and then stuntman and stunt coordinator, before moving on to second unit directing in 1986. It was then that Ellis was tasked with directing action sequences: first on on Waterworld, and later on such films as The Matrix Reloaded, and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone.
Ellis’ first directing job was on the Disney film Homeward Bound 2: Lost In San Francisco in 1996. He also directed Final Destination 2, Cellular, Snakes On A Plane, Asylum, The Final Destination, and Shark Night 3D. Ellis also did second unit directing on the upcoming Winter’s Tale starring Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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Happy New Year TV lovers! Since it’s a fresh start, let me reintroduce myself: My name is Leanne, (She awkwardly curtsies, stumbles, and falls. Wow, smooth.) I’m completely obsessed with all things television-related and I’m thrilled to continue spoiling you all with what’s coming up on your favorite shows! So here’s how it’s going to work: Every Wednesday, I’ll post a short but oh-so sweet list of all the spoilers you absolutely need to know. Every show will get their time to shine, but if you really want to hear scoop about a particular series, find me on Twitter (@LeanneAguilera) and use the hashtag #LeannesList to tweet a question about your favorite show. Or if you’re too lazy to open another window on your desktop, just place your requests in the comments below. Voila! So easy right?
Now that we’re slowly but surely becoming cyber soulmates, let’s get started! In the first 2013 edition of Leanne’s Spoiler List I’m dishing about the oh-so hot brand new characters you’ll be meeting in season two premiere of Smash and revealing a deeper peak into Elena’s sired mind from The Vampire Dairies boss Julie Plec. I also sweet-talked my way into watching the winter premieres of White Collar, Switched at Birth, and House of Lies and now I’m sharing all the goods about your favorite characters. So sit back, relax, and get ready for a new year filled with fun reviews and exclusive spoilers from yours truly. 1. Smash: A Dashing New Duo!
Some of you know I might have a teeny tiny crush on a show called Glee, so you can imagine how much I absolutely love NBC’s racy, innovative, and infectiously fun musical drama Smash! The season two premiere is still a month away, (Feb. 5!) but lucky for you Broadway lovers, I asked Santa for a sneak peek and I was very good this year! The first episode back is a whopping two hours long, and it is packed to the brim with new characters, thrilling musical numbers, and so many twists and turns that you’ll definitely need a neck brace when it’s done.
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Here's what I can spill about the episode: Dev is officially out of the picture and so far there is absolutely no sign of Julia’s drone of a son Leo. (Cue the applause please!) We get to meet two new fellas, Jimmy and Kyle, who are beyond talented and of course — in true Smash fashion — they’re definitely easy on the eyes. Think of this dynamic playwriting duo as the new Julia and Tom. Kyle writes the book, and Jimmy uses his swoon-worthy voice and musical skills to create the songs. While the Marilyn Musical Bombshell is caught in yet another pre-production snafu, Karen discovers the newbies in a bar and is instantly entranced by their powerful ballads and unique sound. There is only one problem—Jimmy (the so-hot-it-hurts one) has a massive chip on his shoulder and doesn’t want Karen (aka “Princess”) to help him and his partner achieve their dreams. Not to worry: Karen is determined to help their Broadway-bound show—whether they like it or not. Looks like Karen’s got herself a new beau to crush on! 2. House of Lies: Drunk and Delusional If you’re not watching Showtime's comedy House of Lies, you should probably seriously reevaluate your DVR schedule because this show is hilarious, witty, and most importantly, it has Kristen Bell! (Let’s all take a minute to relive the wonderment that is the Ellen/Kristen sloth video.) Now that’s were all in an amazing mood, let’s just dive straight into House of Lies season two scoop. (It premieres Jan. 13, bee tee dubs).
GALLERY: TV's Best Bitchfaces Jeannie is now back from a paid leave of absence from work. Remember that whole sleeping with her boss thing? Well, now she’s got a bigger problem: What the heck happened the night she got wasted with Marty and completely blacked out? It turns out Marty doesn’t remember their drunken night of debauchery either. Luckily, Jeannie begins to have flashbacks from their interesting (and bloody) night, but the last 30 seconds of the episode are definitely something that you don’t want to miss. Oh, and fun fact: Clyde has not one but two girlfriends! That’s right: Claude, our favorite smooth talker, is currently in a Ménage à trois relationship and invites Marty to join the festivities. Of course, I can’t reveal to you what Marty chooses, but I can tell you that his reaction is priceless. What about Doug, you ask? Welp, Doug makes a complete and total fool of himself in front of a very important client. Yet again. 3. The Vampire Diaries: Sired Vampire Girl Problems Whenever The Vampire Diaries is on a hiatus, life seems bleak, empty, and fang-free. Sigh. Luckily for all you Mystic Falls lovers out there, I chatted with the all-knowing TVD showrunner Julie Plec to help curb your bloodlust until the drama returns Jan. 17. Even though we saw the rage/devastation when Stefan learned of Elena and Damon’s recent under-the-sheets activities, Plec reveals that Elena’s love triangle between the two Salvatore brothers is far from over. “Elena's mindset is basically a combination of feeling a sense of loss of not being able to be around Damon and also this profound sense of guilt for how much she's hurt Stefan.” Don't forget about the third man in her life, though: her brother, Jeremy. "Equal to that, a protectiveness of Jeremy,” Plec adds. "She's feeling very unsettled that she's not there where he is in helping him go through the motions to uncover the rest of his hunter marks. So she's got a lot that she's concerned about." Our heroine will never lead a normal high school senior life, but then again, she is a vampire. GALLERY: TV's Most Infuriating Third Wheels
But about that Damon situation: Is Elena ever going to question the sire bond, or is she dead set that her love for Damon is the real deal? Plec answers, "In the midst of all of it, she's still wondering, are these [true] feelings she's feeling? They feel so real. What is going on with me?” Looks like we’re going to have to wait a few weeks to find out, but head on down to the comments with your speculations! Is it just the sire bond messing with her head, or does Elena truly love Damon? 4. Switched at Birth: Gifts Galore!
After what seemed like the longest season one in the history of television (I might be exaggerating just a tad), Switched at Birth returns Jan. 7 with a brand new season and a whole lot of fun! I've already witnessed the amazingness of the season two premiere and I am happy to report that fans will not be disappointed. When we last saw our two families, Angelo was awarded with a $5 million settlement which was basically the court's way of saying, "This is really awkward and we're really sorry that the hospital switched your two daughters. So here's a huge pile of money to make up for it." So, what’s a fella to do with all that cash? Shower everyone with gifts, that’s what! A cappuccino maker, a telescope, and a Rolex watch are just a few of the pricey items that Angelo gives the family to show his love. But the coolest present of all is definitely Daphne’s.
GALLERY: Twist! TV's Best (and Worst) Game Changers When I was on the Switched at Birth set last month, the lovely Katie Leclerc was kind enough to spill the details to me and now I’m going to do the same for you: “Daphne gets a food truck!” Leclerc exclaims. The actress reveals that although Daphne has an intense passion for cooking, owning a food truck is a huge challenge and commitment for the high schooler. “Now she has to learn about business and has to learn about how her business affects other businesses and different communities and things like that. But she figures it out and she really grows up. She really just thrives in that environment and it’s good to see that,” she says. Business savvy is great and all, but with food trucks it’s all about the tasty treats! So what will Miss Daphne be dishing up? Leclerc smiles. “The first time she takes it out she does waffles, but it turns out that she is going to do tacos… but with a twist,” she spills. Sounds delicious to me!
5. Comment Question: Dale Sullivan asked, “Got anything new on "White Collar"?”
Well my dear Dale, I just finished watching the mid-season premiere of White Collar and let me confess something to you: I have a HUGE crush on Matt Bomer. Is that spoilery enough for you? Okay, fine. Let’s get to it! The episode, “Family Business” — which premieres on Jan. 22 — is a total Marry Poppins (practically perfect in every way!) When we last saw our handsome hero, Neal discovered in a shocking twist that Sam is actually his father. Dun dun duuun! Now fans will pick up right where we left off and in the first three minutes you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about our MIA daddy, including the backstory behind the picture Neal has from when he was a little boy.
Golden Globes 2013: Worst TV Snubs To find the truth behind his father’s criminal past, Neal must go undercover into the spirited world of counterfeit whiskey (pun intended). So get excited, White Collar fans, because the only thing better than a shirtless Neal is a drunk one with a sneaky plan. We already knew that our blue-eyed badass was incredible at a lot of things, but you can now add professional alcohol replicator to that list. After a fiery climax (yup that’s a big clue), Neal makes the tough decision about whether or not he wants his dad to be a part of his life. Are you excited to meet Smash’s dashing new man? Counting down the days to get your Delena and Stelena fix? Intrigued by the new season of House of Lies? Tell me everything in the comments below!
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[Photo Credit: USA, The CW, ABC Family, NBC, Showtime]
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When Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake stepped into the Batcave at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, the speculation began. Would Blake take over the cape and mask from Bruce Wayne, who was presumed dead (though actually off living the dream with Selina Kyle at a picturesque café in Europe)? Or was it a tease for fans along with a well-played metaphor for the character's legacy?
On Tuesday, rumors that Gordon-Levitt would step into the shoes of Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie picked up steam thanks to reports that Gordon-Levitt would establish his version of the character first in a cameo in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. But Hollywood.com checked in with Gordon-Levitt's reps who have refuted the rumor entirely. For now, The Dark Knight Rises actor's continued involvement in the DC Movie Universe remains a fan dream.
But hey, we can dream, right?
From a continuity standpoint, this casting choice would make a lot of sense, and bridges the gap between Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy (which bowed this summer with TDKR), Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel, and the upcoming DC Comics superhero roundup Justice League, which hits theaters in 2015. Justice League is going to be the Avengers of the DC Comics world, combining the skills and talents of Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman into one film. And while the casting choices for the superheroes are still up in the air, the writing team may be locked down sooner than we think: Nolan is a producer on Snyder and Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel, which may just be the introduction to the Justice League blockbuster. Talk about continuity.
But is Gordon-Levitt the right fit to take up the caped crusader’s mission? In the past, the iconic cowl has been taken up by many actors, and some worked better than others...
The first full-length theatrical adaptation of Batman premiered in 1966 starring Adam West, who also portrayed a campy version of the superhero in the ABC series that ran from 1966 to 1968. West was never able to escape from under the shadow of Batman, however, and was severely typecast for the rest of his career.
The 1989 film Batman, directed by Tim Burton, starred Michael Keaton, who had previously made a name for himself as a comedic actor, causing controversy that he would not be able to shoulder such a serious role. The doubters were silenced when Batman grossed over $400 million, received positive reviews, and won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction. The 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, had generally positive reviews but earned less than its first installment.
1995’s Batman Forever went in a new direction, with Val Kilmer as the titular hero. The film had mixed reviews, but was considered a box office success earning over $350 million worldwide and three Academy Award nominations. Filming for 1997’s Batman and Robin began immediately following Batman Forever, but because of scheduling conflicts Kilmer did not reprise his role. George Clooney took up the caped crusader instead. The film remains to be the least-commercially successful Batman movie, and it is also widely considered to be the worst superhero film of all time.
Nolan’s Batman trilogy took on a darker and more realistic view of the superhero. 2005’s Batman Begins, 2008’s The Dark Knight, and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises all showed Christian Bale’s Batman as a relatable human who ages and could be broken, only to rise up and conquer fear. Nolan's trilogy is regarded as the best incarnation of Batman, and with Nolan attached to Man of Steel, we have high hopes that Justice League's Batman will exceed expectations, especially if Gordon Levitt wears the cape and mask.
Man of Steel flies into theaters June 14, 2013, and Justice League is planned to bow summer of 2015. Gordon-Levitt may not end up in either, but like Batman, casting rumors continue to lurk in the shadows.
Reporting by Matt Patches
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Ron Phillips/Warner Bros.]
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Calling all Twihards: if you just can’t wait until the midnight release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 on Nov. 16, have we got a treat for you. Check out the just released “Final Chapter” two-minute featurette on the finale below:
This extended preview includes scenes and footage in the highly anticipated flick, plus exclusive interviews with director Bill Condon and stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Ashley Greene, and Taylor Lautner.
Something you won’t find the stars talking about in the featurette? The sex scene between new-vampire Bella and her husband Edward. Don’t you worry, Pattinson dished on the “ridiculous” sex scene in an interview on the Australian talk show Kyle and Jackie O.
"The sex scene in this one is pretty ridiculous," Pattinson said. "It's just because you're kind of shooting stuff to be PG-13. It's just that you’re trying to think of inventive ways to make something sexy. It can't just be a normal sex scene. It's supposed to be about like the greatest vampire sex you've ever had. A lot of it was just close ups on me and Kristen’s faces."
Pattinson also touches on how actually filming the movies and promoting them feel like two entirely different jobs since Twilight isn’t just a movie, it’s a culture, the movie that made him cry, his Starbucks order and more.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters Nov. 16.
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[Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment]
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