IamA Actor/Author David Ury. I was crushed by an ATM on Breaking Bad and am author of Everybody Dies A Children's Book for Grown Ups. Ask me Anything.
I'm the co-author of the new HarperCollins book Everybody Dies A Children's Book for Grown Ups Here's a book trailer we did with some fellow Breaking Bad Cast (Skinny Pete, Marco Salamanca)
I'm also a stand-up and character actor known mostly for playing creepy guys in Breaking Bad, Justified, Community, CSI etc...as well as Don on Disney's Zeke and Luther. You can see my actors reel here. and here is my stand-up.
You may also have seen some viral YouTube videos I've written/produced like "What Kind Of Asian are You?"
You can learn more about the book at Amazon.com
My Proof: http://www.davidury.com/#!blogger-feed/cndv
Thanks folks. If you have any more questions I'll try to come back and look at this later this evening.
Update: It seems like folks still have questions...so I'll check in again tonight(5-29) and try to answer more
In my opinion Dale Dickey is far from a skank. But it's hard to reason with Spooge.
What was your first reaction when you discovered the way that you would be killed in Breaking Bad?
I actually had no idea about my death when I shot the first episode I was in, I hadn't read the script yet for my main episode "peekaboo". Everyone on set kept coming up to me saying "Have you seen what they're gonna do to you?". So I knew it was going to be something crazy. When I finally saw the script I was like "Yeahh!". I'd died numerous times in tv shows but this was by far the best and weirdest death a guy could ask for.
Yo David! Congrats on the book! I read through it at the shoot for the trailer and LOVED IT! I'm getting a copy as soon as I can get off my lazy ass and get one! Anyway, question: what inspired it? And when are you gonna come to one of my parties?
Hey Charles! Thanks again for doing the trailer and congrats on Murder in the First. I will send you a book! I was hoping to make your last BBQ, then realized my bro's family had one at the same time. The book is inspired by my long standing fear of death...Skinny Pete was one of the show's few survivors so I'm sure he has NO FEAR.
So that scene was probably the most disturbing in the whole show, due to the completely and utterly disgusting couple. What did you do to get into the mindset of someone that horrific of a person?
That is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. Really, with that high level of quality of writing, makeup, and art direction, it's quite easy to slip into character.
Do you have a fear of ATMs now?
Jokes aside, you did a great job portraying such a memorable character in the series. I'm from New Mexico, so I appreciate the way Breaking Bad has really gotten our state's name out there. Come visit again! :)
How did you develop your Japanese and especially your grammar as your Japanese is good enough to have even Japanese fooled as can be seen by your Ken Tanaka subscribers ;-) Was it from formal lessons, being in Japan when you were younger and hanging out with Japanese? What would you recommend to become better at Japanese grammar in particular? Is anime a waste of time for this? G'luck with your book!
Well, I can't take credit for the work of my devastatingly handsome, long-lost twin brother Ken. But as far as how I learned Japanese...I was an exchange student at age 19. I studied obsessively for two years in Japan. I did a long interview about how I learned Japanese here that will provide some more detail. Anime is not a waste of time, but you need to round it out with some real conversation with people so you don't end up talking like Pikachu...as adorable as Pikachu is.
How was working with Aaron Paul?
Aaron was very easy to work with and very passionate about his work on the show. He's a genuinely nice guy.
I'll pass that on to Ken
How was it filming The Mentalist?
They run a tight ship. The Mentalist was a really easy job. Those guys have got it down. And getting to dress up in a Civil War uniform was awesome.
Hi David - What is the weirdest acting gig you've ever taken?
I was in a promo for Charlie Sheen's Comedy Central Roast. I played a man-baby in a diaper, jumping up and down. Or as I call it, "every actor's dream role."
Did you know at that time of your filming that the show would become legendary?!
Not at all. At the time it was a very culty show and most people hadn't heard of it...but the people who knew it loved it. I knew it had great , ground breaking writing and acting, but i had no idea that it would take off like it did. I shot my episodes in 2008 and for the next couple years when I'd tell people which shows I'd been on most people hadn't heard of BrBa...till around 2012...then boom!
Hi David, that was an awsome death in Breaking Bad!! I was really impacted in this chapter about how deep an addict can go to get or hide his drugs. It remembered me Trainspotting toilet scene. Now my question: did you need any special preparation for this role?
I'd played a number of drug meth addicts before BrBa and had done some research into what it feels like to be high, and to come down, and to be in with drawl. Some of the things i learned was that you can get quite itchy and also that you feel the need to constantly move your mouth around...so I tried to bring that physicality to the role.
How long did it take you as an actor to get your big break?
I'll let you know when I get it. Although I do work consistently, I still have to fight and hustle to stay working.
How long ago did you begin? Keep living the dream!
I moved to LA in August of 2001 and started working in 2002.
How big is your cock dude?
I hate when people ask questions like this and don't specify what state said cock would be in. It's ridiculous.
How was working with Bryan Cranston? Is he as smart as he appears on the show?
I didn't works with Mr. Cranston on Breaking Bad, but I did get to meet him during my first TV gig in 2002 on Malcolm in the Middle. I had a tiny one line role, and he came up to me at the table read to personally welcome me and thank me for doing the show. I've never forgotten that. He's a classy guy.
I know you weren't on BrBa for too many episodes, but what was your overall impression of Albuquerque? Any place you liked to frequent while in town?
Well, I spent about a week there and our episodes required very long days ...like 14 hours. So all I really saw was the weird business park our hotel was located in just off the freeway about 10 miles from town. We were next to a Hooters type place called Twin Peaks or something. I didn't really get to explore the city unfortunately...but the view of the interstate was gorgeous.
Ahhh Twin Peaks, ive had many a beer there. I hope you got to at least try some of our famous New Mexican food and Green/Red Chile.
That's what I wanted but I didn't get to. However , I'd had some of that style food in Santa Fe, Taos, and Pueblo,CO. Yummers...is the term I believe.
Have you ever read the children's book for adults, "All My Friends Are Dead"?
Yes, I believe one of the author's of that book is also an actor. There must be something about Actors and grown up children's books about death.
Hey David, I recently talked to your past colleague Michael Davis about being interview on my podcast while we watch Shoot Em Up. Would you be at all interested in donating 15-20 mins. of your time for an interview? I'd like to discuss your scene/role in the movie, other projects you've been a part of, and to promote any projects with which you're currently involved. Thank you for taking the time to read my request and I look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks again, Zach
Hi Zach, Michael Davis is a great guy. I'd be happy to talk with you. You can contact me thought the contact page on my website
Hi David, what was it like working with the little boy? Was he aware of what was being filmed?
I don't think they were too aware of the nature the story. There were actually two twin boys who played that role, which is a common way of casting children in TV and film. When I first met the boys I was already in my scary Meth make up and their mom had to explain to them that I wasn't really a scary person in real life.
how are long takes where actors are supposed to be dead accomplished without you moving or blinking? visine? special effects?
From my experience, you just have to do your best to hold your breath and keep your eyes open. If it's a super long take, you can very slowly breathe through your nose and still manage to look dead. I've never had anybody offer me any kind of special tools to help be a convincing corpse.
would you make a "how to be a convincing corpse" workshop + dvd set ?
already on it.
What would you say is the most challenging thing about being an actor?
The fight to get work and auditioning. Acting is the easy part.
What was it like working on Community?
Awesome. One of the best, most fun sets I've been on. In between takes I got to joke around with the cast. You could tell they were all happy to be there, which makes it really fun to work on.
Did you get to work on screen with Tom Wilkinson and/or Emily Watson in Little Boy? And if so what were they like?
i did not work with either of them. My scenes were with Ben Chaplin, who is very kind and funny.
Also found this funny video of you has this ever really happened?
That's an exaggeration of a common experience in Japan.
Hello, how was it like working on set of Breaking Bad? :D
It was early on in the show...season 2...and although the show had not soared to the level of popularity it now enjoys, I think people knew already that they were part of something really special, so there was a certain energy and passion you could feel on the set.
Peekaboo is my favourite episode of Breaking Bad! I always felt like Spoodge and his lady were what Jesse and Jane would have become if they had the money and their own way and just spent it all on drugs, really tragic
That's interesting. I never thought of it like that.
the episode where you were killed by the ATM was one of the strangest episodes in the series, that and the one with the fly in the lab. i dont know why but it just stuck out to me. If you dont mind me asking because ive always been curious, how much does a spot on a big show like breaking bad or community usually pay out? be vague if needed as i understand you may not want to put that information out there
SAG Union minimums for a major "Top of Show" Guest Star that shoots 1 week are about $7,700. A Smaller "Co-Star" for 1 week is about $3,000 For a 1 day guest star I think 1,000 is minimum. It can go up from there or not depending on the show's budget and the actor's experience/name recognition and Agent's negotiating power.
That's a really interesting book there. What makes you decide to co-author it?
It has always seemed odd to me that death is such a taboo subject, especially considering that it's one of the few things in life that every single one of us will experience. It seems that sex and death are the great taboos....you can't talk about the creation of life and you can't talk about the end of it...but all that stuff in between is fair game. I, personally, am quite terrified of death. So hopefully the book helps frightened grown ups like me come to grips with death.
Three Questions: 1. Any advice that you can give to fans that are going through bullying? 2. Did you like the whole series of Breaking Bad? 3. What is your ethnicity, which brings me to say that your last name is so cool.
- I was bullied a lot as a kid from age 12-16. It sucks. This quote from Albert Einstein often kept me going "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." One thing to keep in mind is that bullies themselves are usually scared, insecure people who don't know how to deal with their own fear and so they take it out on people around them...often times people who look or act differently from the norm. Also, once you leave school...none of that stuff matters any more...so keep in mind that saying "it gets better".
- Oh yeah! 3. My grandparents were German Jews who fled the Nazis.
What is the best/funniest practical joke you have seen happen on the set?
Gosh, I know people are always talking about these things, but I'm not sure I've ever experienced one. I'll get back to you if I think of something...or if I make up something really clever.
What's your very best life advice?
Don't be afraid to try to make a living at doing what you're most passionate about. And if you have a chance to live abroad and experience life/living in a totally different culture, do it. It will change how you see everything.
And stay away from meth.
What was it like working on Always Sunny? I mean, I know you were only there to clean up the loads, but that in itself was probably an eight hour shoot. Thanks for doing this AMA, btw!
Great set to work on. I never followed the show, but working on it made me want to watch...same with Community. They imrpov a lot on the takes and everyone seemed to be having fun. Community and Sunny were both really fun shows to work. When the regular actors are having such fun it's contagious.
Definitely one of my favorite episodes of BB. You look the part so much, have you ever dabbled in amphetamines IRL? (Or any other drugs?)
I've certainly never done meth...or seen the real thing. I'm not much of a drug person.
Your wikipedia article is lacking a picture of you! You should fix this.
Yes, you're right, I just checked it..and it's quite out of date with some weird questionable details too. I try to stay out of/and avoid looking at my Wikipedia entry because it always stresses me out. But you are welcome to contribute a pic :-)
Did you learn something new from doing the Breaking Bad part, acting wise or personally?
My first day of the Peekaboo shoot I had misread the schedule and prepared the wrong scenes....so I learned to double check schedules...and also to have all your scenes prepared even the ones your not shooting that day. Luckily I was well enough prepared to do it on the fly.
Hey, David, loved your parts in BrBa and Community! Just one question, at the end of the day, what's the best part about being an actor?
You get to experience life, and moments through the eyes of a person/character you've never imagined.
Hi Karaoke Steve! I went to Scooby's Hot Dogs in Hollywood just because of your endorsement. Best damn hotdogs for probably 10 miles around.
EDIT: Do you know if Niel the psychic poet ever found his soul mate?
I don't know but I did see him walking down Vermont blvd earlier this year...I hope he found her.
They are pretty Stevey.
What acting classes have you taken, Dave?
Funkseoulbrotha loves you!
I started out mostly taking comedy. Groundlings, Improv Olympic were my main schools. Then I did some Shakespeare work, movement and voice classes, etc. Improv comedy is my background.
Is it true that you know Lonnie Millsap?
yes, he is one of our countries greatest cartoonists. A national treasure to be treasured nationally.
What are your favorite movie death scenes?
Bonnie and Clyde is probably my favorite.
Do you know if Ken plans on doing any more videos on how to speak Japanese without hardly saying a word? I miss him and Remi-san. They were very handsome.
I don't know if Ken and Remi are working on anything right now, but I'll ask. I've been helping Ken with a funny series that he is releasing soon starring Stella Choe from What Kind of Asian are You? We also have a video we're in together coming out next week about race issues in Japan.
Will you marry me?
I got engaged in February, but we haven't set a date yet...so there's still a chance that I will marry you. So far I'd say I'm pretty charmed by you.
How old were you when you first tried your hand at stand-up?
I think I was about 30. I'm 40 now.
Beyond a whole lot of luck what do you think is that takes somebody from a guy waiting tables in LA hoping to be where you to where you are?
Similarly what do you think it is that takes somebody like you from where you are to becoming a more household name?
Persistence, dedication, passion, motivation. You have to work your ass off to get started as an actor in LA. You have to be obsessive. You have to do your own stuff too and create your own acting opportunities. Ideally, you want to make the industry come to you.
As for your second question. Damn. I don't know. You just have to be in that show, or film that takes off. There are a lot of great actors who never reach that state.
Hey David, where was the peekabo episode filmed? And how was the ATM crushing scene filmed?
It was filmed in Becquerel in a creepy, wrecked house. I describe the ATM scene in detail in this Salon.com interview I did last week.
Who was a bigger douchebag, Gus or Tuco?
Hmmm. A question for the ages.
How long did you have to spend in hair/makeup for those scenes?
About 2.5 hours.
How much did the whole bit with being on Braking Bad help your career?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years acting wise, would it be any different if you never got crushed by that ATM?
It's hard to say how much it directly helped. I know at least one indie movie that I got because of that role. I noticed for some other Casting Directors who used to see me for smaller roles...that they started thinking of me for larger parts after they saw the episode. I don't really think about where I'll be in five years as far as acting success. It's such a fickle business that it's out of your hands. I've been lucky to work a little more every where since I started getting consistent work back in 2005 or so. If that path can continue I'll be satisfied...but I also know that eventually there will be a slow year ahead.
I found your scene in Breaking Bad to be very REAL and DISTURBING.
In fact, that very scene spun my trip straight down into Wall Street last week. Thank you for that.
I don't know what the 2nd of that means, but...I hope it was a bull market for you.
Where did you get the idea for the Ken Tanaka character? Is he based on someone in particular or just a certain type of guy?
Do you want a conscious or unconscious death. As in do you want to die in your sleep, or would you rather experience your death as it happens?
I am terrified of death...but mostly I'm terrified of the dying part. Dying in your sleep sounds pretty damn good to me.
Cooking With Dog is the best. Thanks.
I agree that Cooking with Dog is the proverbial bomb, but I assure you that I have nothing to do with it.
Have you ever used crystal meth? What was your experience around hard drugs?
I've never done or even seen meth, coke, heroin any of that stuff. I have seen people on them...but that stuff has always scared the crap out of me....plus...my mom would be super disappointed in me if I did it... she'd say "I'm not mad, David, I'm just disappointed." which is always the worst. Sorry, mom.
David, can I possibly be on one of your youtube skits?
Anything is possible.
A AINT NO SKANK!!
I never suggested that you were, d-giant.
That episode was the only breaking bad episode I ever watched. It was too dark for me
That is understandable. I binge watched 3 seasons and watching 20 some hours of that show in a matter of days can definitely effect your mood.
So was she a skank?
View HistoryShare Link