Daivd Ury is really onto something. Who is David Ury? you may ask. Most likely, you’ve seen him around, getting throttled, axed, murdered, or most notably, having an ATM fall on him in AMC’s critically-acclaimed “Breaking Bad.” Yes, he’s one of those character actors that you like but might not know unless you’re looking in the right places. Ury has definitely been working hard. You can catch his hilarious collaboration with his alter-ego, Kevin Tanaka, right here:
What the heck? Well, would it help to understand what’s going on if you knew that David Ury used to be a Japanese-English translation specialist? No? Well, actually, yes! David’s love of Japanese has opened doors for him and we discuss that a bit in this interview. Among other things, it brought Kevin Tanaka into the world. It was because of David’s translations of over 150 Japanese graphic novels that brought him to Comic-Con International in San Diego through the years. And we all know that going to Comic-Con is a good thing all by itself. This year, David was at Comic-Con in support of his new book, “Everybody Dies: A Children’s Book For Grown-Ups.”
As David points out, his career as a character actor has seen him go through many death scenes making him something of a death expert. He concluded that he had something to share with readers on the subject of death, which is so shrouded in mystery. In the course of our interview, I asked David to name his favorite death scene in a movie. He instantly said it had to be the final scene in “Bonnie and Clyde.” It really left an impression on him when he first saw it as a teenager. There’s no doubt, that’s one of the great scenes in movie history.
Interestingly enough, one of the most notable books that David translated was “Me and the Devil Blues” by Akira Hiramoto. I asked David about the process of translating manga. He says one of the biggest challenges is working with the humor since it will often not translate. That means he would need to invent jokes that would play well within the context of the story. Getting back to “Me and the Devil Blues,” David says that had unique challenges of its own. It is, after all, a very American story, that of blues legend Robert Johnson, from a Japanese author. David had to find a way to maintain a certain American tone to how Robert Johnson spoke. And then you can add to that the fact this book is quite a fanciful work of fiction. In fact, Robert Johnson ends up hanging out with the infamous couple, “Bonnie and Clyde.”
The great thing about David Ury is that there is plenty to talk about with him. It reveals depth and a warm caring person. As you will discover when you read his unusual children’s book for grown-ups, there is a fine mix of pathos and the absurd. Through laughter, we may better come to terms with death. It takes a multi-faceted individual like David Ury to make a little book like this say so much.
You can listen to the interview right below: