Tom Meeten

SXSW 2021: Interview with Tom Meeten, Star of ‘Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break’

Check out our interview with the star of Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break, which premieres at SXSW tomorrow. Learn about his career, how the role for Paul Dood came about for him, what his character is like, and much more!


PopHorror – Hi Tom. How is 2021 treating you so far?

Tom Meeten – Hi. It’s been like having my balls in a hot vice… (ha!). I’ve been homeschooling my daughter. Arrogantly presumed I’d be a good teacher, I’m not. But maybe the pressure is reducing slightly, the kids are back to school. And Paul Dood is emerging from the fiery clamp.

PopHorror – Haha. So everything isn’t so bad after all. I’m a huge fan of your work. What inspired you to become an actor?

Tom Meeten – Well that’s kind, thank you. Think I’ve had an unconventional journey and seem to have arrived at acting. I started doing performance art at college and then moved into live comedy about 20 years ago, and fell in love with the whole scene, and now I seem to be an ‘actor’, which I still have impostor syndrome about. I think I was inspired by the pure joy of performing.

PopHorror – Well, you’re fantastic! Do you have any favorite actors that you look up to?

Tom Meeten – No. (Of course I do, but no one surprising, and the list is huge). Recently I thought Michaela Coel was fantastic in I May Destroy You.

PopHorror – You’ve done both TV series and Movies. Do you prefer one over the other? How do the experiences differ?

Tom Meeten – I prefer movies, I think movies are a bit more immersive, exciting, and intense but for a shorter blast. Or at least for the films I’ve done, never been involved in a blockbuster that takes 9 weeks to shoot the title sequence. Most of the films I’ve been involved in have had a relatively low budget and that breeds an amazing spirit and camaraderie, it feels very special and unique.

PopHorror – That makes sense! How did the role for Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break come about for you?

Tom Meeten –  I had worked with Nick (writer/director) a few times over the years. We first met when I did a cameo in the film Sightseers where I beheaded a chicken! Then he asked me to do a bit in his first feature with Finn (producer), Tank 432. And a few years ago he said he had a project with me in mind, I forgot about it, then it was just suddenly happening. Very flattering to be asked to be a lead in a feature that shows an enormous amount of faith, I HOPE I repaid the faith.

Tom Meeten

PopHorror – You most definitely did. You play Paul. Can you tell us about your character?

Tom Meeten – He adores his Mum and seems happy in his life but he’s also a dreamer and dreams of fame. I don’t think he’s particularly talented, he has enthusiasm, a huge amount, but then he crosses into darker territory and we see him grieve. He obviously has a dark side to attempt a killing spree in the first place, but really he’s quite sweet and naive… I think.

PopHorror – Completely agreed. This seemed like a fun film to make. Was it cool to play a character that the film centers around and was it a fun experience?

Tom Meeten – Yes to all. It was the MOST fun. Nick and Finn had a brilliantly relaxed and joyful attitude to shooting the whole thing. Nick encouraged improv and was just really excited to be making it. Think that attitude rubbed off on everyone, so it was enormous fun. And yeah I was very excited to be a lead, felt very lucky, and relished it.

PopHorror – You rocked it! Any favorite scenes?

Tom Meeten – Well, the finale was probably a highlight, I was quite tense about shooting it as we decided to go quite free form and not choreographed. It was a very similar experience to doing a live comedy gig, and Nick created the atmosphere to achieve that. It was a buzz. Also loved performing with the all-star comedy talent. Everyone just turned up for a few days and I got to jam with them all. Lovely.

PopHorror – That’s awesome. Do you enjoy the horror genre and if so what are your favorite films?

Tom Meeten – I definitely enjoy horror (is Paul Dood horror? Not sure? Probably not?). The Shining is probably a favourite, it’s STILL one of the most original horrors I’ve seen. I love Alien/s (is that horror?!). I enjoy films that jump and blend genres, the best horrors are packed with invention, and it’s a great thrill to be unaware of what genre you are actually watching.

PopHorror – Yes all of what you mentioned is a subgenre of horror and fantastic! Any other upcoming projects?

Tom Meeten – I’m one of the leads in a UK TV thriller that comes out in April, called Intruder. And I’ve been working on my own dark comedy horror film in between being a very bad teacher.

PopHorror – I hope everyone loves your film at SXSW as much as I did and I wish you all the best of luck in future projects. Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break premieres at SXSW on March 17!

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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