Exclusive : David R. Ellis talks Kite

3D or 2D, filming locations, the tone and more…

It was announced earlier in the month that “Shark Night” and “The Final Destination” helmer David R. Ellis would be next contributing to his resume a feature film adaptation of the Japanese anime classic “OVA Kite”. The original 1998 film told of a young girl who is pressured into a life of sexual favours and killing. The film version was said to be “a character-driven actioner centered on a young woman living in a failed state, post-financial collapse, where the corrupt security force profits on the trafficking of young women. When her father, a cop, is slain by someone dirty inside the force, she vows to track the murderer down with the help of her father’s ex-partner — never realizing he is, in fact, the man who had her father killed.” In other words, it’s light years from “Shark Night”.

I had a chance to talk to Ellis, who I last talked to in Los Angeles for the “Snakes on a Plane” junket back in 2006, on the blower from Boston (where he’s directing second-unit on “R.I.P.D”) about his plans for “Kite” – and beyond.

Firstly, “Kite“, unlike Ellis’s recent couple of movies, won’t be filmed in 3D. It likely won’t even be presented in 3D afterwards – since he despises the post-conversion process.

“Kite is gonna be 2D”, Ellis said. “There is certainly no reason… It’s just… Basically I’m trying to create a world that is, in terms of a story, a lot like the Mad Max films and Road Warrior. And it’s gonna be straightforward. It’s gonna be stylish and have it’s own distinct look and feel.”

Ellis said he hopes “Kite” will be his “Matrix”.

“I’m trying to do something groundbreaking like when the first Matrix came out. But at the same time, I’m trying to base it more in reality [than The Matrix]. There’s not going to be a bunch of super slow motion wire work stuff. I like action that’s more based on real action in what people can really do as opposed to a lot of the stuff that they’re doing now, which is just crazy, where people are running upside down on ceilings and doing that kind of stuffs in fight. I’m gonna use more real stuntmen, real parkour kind of free running stuff, and just try to make it more real. But it’s definitely going to be a 2D movie. There is no need to do it in 3D.”

Ellis, a stuntman before making the transition into second-unit directing and ultimately first-unit directing, says “Kite” will film in South Africa.

“We’re going to Johannesburg”, he says of the Anant Singh produced film . “All the people I talk to… I had friends who were [working on different films there] so they have amazing locations and actors and crew and you can get a lot… A lot for your money there. It’s a lower budget film and all the teams, production designers, everybody that I’m looking at they’re from Johannesburg and they’re reasonably priced but very talented. So, I hear that Johannesburg and Cape Town are amazing places to go to, so I’m excited. I’m gonna go over there and we… We have small budget and tight schedule, but generally you get a lot for your money and the crews are fast, so it’s going to be cool.”

Ellis, now shooting second-unit on “R.I.P.D” (“It’s going really, really good. We worked last night until about 3 o’clock, just doing big giant car chases and stuff and we’re having fun. Today is actually our day off. We’re working Saturday through Wednesdays. I love directing action and it’s kind of a really nice release [doing second unit], less pressure”), says he’s hopeful that he might also get to do a “Shark Night” sequel in the future but that’ll ultimately be up to the money-men.

“I mean we’re doing okay at the box office based on what the movie costs. I had hoped that we would have done better and I thought that we were, but relatively happy with our box office and as we start to come out in other countries, internationally, we’ll see how we do, which likely makes sense.”

Look for my full chat with Ellis in the coming weeks.

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