I’ve luckily had the privilege of helping cover SXSW 2021 – one of the best festivals out there. One of the films on my radar is Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break and it was bloody fantastic. Unfortunately, that’s all I can stay until the premiere. I recently had the chance to chat with the director, Nick Gillespie about his career, details about Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break, the inspiration behind the film, and more.
PopHorror – Hi Nick. How are you doing? Have you had a good 2021 so far?
Nick Gillespie – Hi there! I’m keeping well thank you, I’ve gotten off to a busy start to the year shooting a feature here in the UK so I can’t really complain. After testing we are all currently in a Covid bubble and cannot leave set for the whole time we are filming nor can anyone else come in. It is something I’ve kind of gotten used to now and it means we can carry on shooting stuff and keeping safe so all good.
PopHorror – Yeah it definitely makes a challenge, but I’m glad people are finding ways to still live out their creative dreams. What inspired you to become a director?
Nick Gillespie – I don’t really consider myself a director as such, more of a “filmmaker”, but it is a loose term I throw around. To answer your very good question though I would say I have always enjoyed watching films, reading about films, making images, telling stories, and learning how to put all of that together.
PopHorror – Who are some of your favorite directors?
Nick Gillespie – Lots to choose from but in no particular order I would say: John Carpenter, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Terence Malik.
PopHorror – Great choices. You’ve done several shorts and a few full features. Is it far more challenging to do a feature than it is with a short?
Nick Gillespie – It’s not always the case but I suppose the general rule is that it probably takes longer to make a feature, from the point of inception until it is completed at least anyway, so it can be more of an undertaking, or you might end up more tired after a much longer shoot for example. I feel the challenge is different from project to project though – shorts are a fantastic way to try new things out so the chances are you are learning something you have not done before, which might, in turn, be more challenging.
PopHorror – That makes sense. You’re a jack of trades when it comes to filmmaking, you can do it all: writing, directing, cinematography, acting, etc. Do you prefer one over the other?
Nick Gillespie – That is very sweet of you. I think the term where I come from is “Jack of all trades, master of none”, so I will keep trying new things until I finally master something. In all honesty, I simply love making films and taking pictures of all shapes and sizes and I love working with people who share a similar vibe and interest. I am very at home with a camera on my shoulder, I am happily directed, and I also enjoy guiding as a director too. I guess I don’t fully know what I want to be when I grow up yet is all.
PopHorror – I can relate to that. Can you tell us about your new film Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break?
Nick Gillespie – In my own words the film is about a guy who wants to win a big talent contest, he has some trouble on his way to the audition and it all goes massively badly for him, so he decides to go on a revenge killing spree… No spoilers intended. But I can tell you that all goes quite badly for him too.
PopHorror – Haha yes it does! What inspired this film?
Nick Gillespie – There is quite a lot of modern influence we have worked into the story over the years but really it has been one of those projects I have always gone back to. Screenwriter Matthew White sent me the script in 2010 and we kicked it around for years whilst working together on short films and various other feature scripts, but we just kept coming back to Matt’s Paul Dood script and it always felt like Paul needed to see the light of day at some point.
PopHorror – I’m glad you did. The acting was phenomenal. How did the casting process come about?
Nick Gillespie – Thank you! We really were lucky to work with so many talented actors, and it was a strange thing as various people joined it kind of grew and grew from there. Although some of the characters were developed more and more some parts were specifically written for certain actors even as far back as 2010 (Johnny Vegas for example) and there were others where we had a wish list, which weirdly on this film came true in almost all cases. I had enjoyed working with Tom Meeten quite a few times in the past and he was certainly my first choice for Paul Dood, so I was super pleased everyone else was on board with that too (of course they were!).
PopHorror – He was perfect! Any favorite scenes?
Nick Gillespie – I don’t know really, it’s hard to be specific about which bits are my favourite. I am just keen for people to see the film now and hope they find something fun with it.
PopHorror – Are you excited to have your film premiere at SXSW?
Nick Gillespie – I am very excited to have the film premiere at SXSW, it is a dream come true. Probably one of the festivals I have wanted to visit in the world more than any other (I can’t even go to it this year, but I am still excited).
PopHorror – Yes, it’s so exciting! What’s next for you?
Nick Gillespie – I am in development on two feature films which are both ticking along quite nicely and I’m also shooting a TV drama in the UK during summer this year.
PopHorror – I look forward to all you do and I hope everyone loves Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break as much as I do, which premieres at SXSW on March 17!