Exclusive Interview with David R. Ellis, Director of SHARK NIGHT 3D
With summer coming to a close, it may seem like all the summer movies have already come and gone
from the theater. But that is a mistake! SHARK NIGHT 3D comes out Friday, September 2 and this
schlocky b-movie truly marks the end of the season.
Now when I say “schlocky” I mean that in the best way possible. Mixing B-movie tropes, 3D technology,
and the newest up and coming young stars, this could be a new cult classic.
GeekTyrant got a chance to talk with director David R. Ellis. While his name may not be instantly
recognizable, he’s been involved in some classic films from the 80s to today, like DAYS OF THUNDER,
FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, and SCARFACE.
Check out the full interview below:
How did you get your start in film?
I was a junior lifeguard and I was really comfortable [AUDIO CUT OUT] and the and the director liked
my look and wanted me to be Kurt’s buddy in the film.
Have you always been a daredevil, someone who pushes themselves both physically and mentally?
I love action sports and I do a lot of them, but as a professional stunt man you can’t be a daredevil. It’s a
calculated risk and you know there is a danger associated with it, but you still have to be able to perform.
There’s crews and cameras and all these other elements that could be in harm’s way, but I knew that I
would be able to accomplish whatever I was trying to achieve.
Do you have any favorite stunts that you’ve performed?
In ROADHOUSE we did fight sequences and worked on the car chase scenes in LA. In CLEAR
AND PRESENT DANGER we did a big ambush sequence that was a lot of fun to do, and tack on
WATERWORLD which was fun to do too. I’ve been blessed to do something that I love to do.
How did you make the transition from stunt work to directing?
I got my director [AUDIO CUTS OUT] at the very young age of 26 and so I’ve been in it for 30 years.
Directing films obviously there’s a ton more responsibility rather than just coming in and directing the
action on the film because you’re responsible for every little nuance in the film from fingernail polish to
jewelry to wardrobe to hair and you’re dealing with actors, you’re dealing with studio critics, and studios.
You’re responsible for budget, more responsibility on all fronts, but it’s a great art form!
I got locked into the [horror] genre, but I would love to get out of that. I would love to do some comedies,
action comedies, but people keep offering me the same kind of film. That’s not necessarily by choice,
but I think SHARK NIGHT has a lot of humor, great characters, and good action. It’s going to be a fun
movie for people to watch, so I’m really proud of this movie out of everything that I’ve done. We had a
really limited budget since we did as an independent. We shot it in 3D and 70% of the movie is on the
water or underwater - we have what looks like on screen a huge production value, so it looks like a huge
film or a film that costs a lot of money, but it’s not. It’s good that we have really good young actors that I
feel are going to break, much like I broke Chris Evans in CELLULAR. We’ve got Katharine McPhee and
Sara Paxton and Chris Carmack; these kids are all going to be stars so I’m hoping that the movie is well
The box office has been low the past couple weeks that makes me a bit nervous; a lot of big movies have gotten murdered but our movie didn’t cost that much so we don’t have to open that big to be a success. But I hope, regardless of the numbers, I hope that people go and are entertained and stay out of the water.
This movie looks like a pure fun movie with a mixture of action, horror, and comedy. This looks
like my type of my movie!
That’s what this movie is! We intentionally made it PG-13; it’s a scary movie but its not overly gory. It
doesn’t have to have boobs and blood to be a fun, scary, sexy movie.
What other projects would you like to get in to? Do you have anything prepped that if you had
funding that you could go forward with?
Well I’m in negotiations on a couple films right now that are a different genre. One’s a really cool
action film one called KITE, which is based on a Japanese Anime, and then the other one is called
CLOCKTOWER which is a really good psychological thriller. So it looks like I’m going to have the
opportunity to do two films outside of the genre. CLOCKTOWER does have a lot of violence in it but its
a little different then say FINAL DESTINATION, But I’m excited for the future.
I’m currently in Boston directing a set unit as a favor for Universal on a film called RIPD which stands
for Rest in Peace Department, staring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. It’s got a huge budget and I’m
here doing that. It looks like from here I’m going to KITE and then from there CLOCKTOWER and get
to keep working and having fun doing what I love to do.
SHARK NIGHT will hit 3D and 2D theaters this Friday, September 2. To check out all of our coverage on this film clilck HERE.