David Ury has made a career out of dying. The actor seems to get bumped off all the time, most famously when he was killed by an ATM on Breaking Bad. So he knew what he was talking about when he collaborated with Ken Tanaka on Everybody Dies: A Children's Book For Grownups, which tackles the sensitive subject of death in a funny, brightly colored way. David joined us recently to discuss the book and his habit of not making it to the end of the story.
"We had this idea to do a book kind of like Everyone Poops, only about death," he explained. "I tend to play characters that have very short life spans. I usually play kind of bad guys and scumbags on TV. and I die a lot. I've been dying since I had my first role on stage at age 15; I had like two lines and was dead on stage. I guess that death's something that's always sort of in the back of my mind."
But don't read Everybody Dies expecting a record of his greatest demises. "There is not really anything [in the book] based on the way I died on TV," he added. "It's more just sort of whatever deaths we happened to imagine."
"It's a difficult subject," David continued. "But I guess the idea is just that it is going to happen to all of us. It's one of the few things in life that, every single person will share that experience. The idea is to kind of get us to talk about it [and] not take for granted the time we have and our life on Earth."
There's a fair amount of humor in the book, too, including a maze where the goal is to navigate your character to dying of old age, and a checklist where you can mark off if you've known someone who's died from a number of causes, some more out there than others. Even the book trailer (which we've included here) is worthy of chuckles. Everybody Dies does a brilliant job of injecting some levity into one of the heaviest topics, which is the point.
"If there's one thing I want people to know about the book," David told us, "my goal in creating content for art of any kind is always to kind of make people laugh, and then make people kind of stop and think."
But what's it like for him to be constantly killed off? Does it ever get frustrating to have a short life span? "On the one hand, I'm happy to get work," he laughed. "[Then] sometimes I'll get a role, and I'm like, oh, this character is so great. I'd love to sink my teeth into it and have a nice multi episode arc - and then I get killed off!"
And yes, his favorite death scene is exactly the one that you're thinking of. "It's kind of hard to beat being crushed by an ATM," David conceded. "I've had other deaths. I had a death on Justified that's quite good and kind of comedic, and that was great, but it's really hard to compete with such an oddball, spectacular and also well-written death scene as what happened on Breaking Bad."