Tom Stourton

With Tom Stourton’s recent project All My Friends Hate Me already shown at festivals, the film is set for a UK and Ireland cinema release on the 10th June with BFI, and he co-wrote All My Friends Hate Me alongside his comedy writing partner Tom Palmer (Totally Tom), and he will be starring as Pete. Since 2015, Tom has been a regular cast member in the CBBC show Horrible Histories and he plays Josh in the new BBC drama Mood, which was released in March. Other roles for Tom include Robbie in Stath Lets Flats, DumpGhost in Pls Like, and he’s working on an upcoming project. Answering our questions, Tom talks about All My Friends Hate Me, starring as Pete in the film and being part of CBBC’s Horrible Histories.

What are you able to tell us about your upcoming release of All My Friends Hate Me and how was it working on the project?

It comes out on the 10th June in cinemas UK/Ireland, released by BFI. Working on the project was in a word extreme, mostly in a good way. Some amazing highs but also some scary moments when it came to getting it all over the line, and the question of whether people would actually get to see it and how they’d respond, or even whether we ourselves would like it when we first saw a cut. The actual filming of it, which took place in one location over three weeks, could not have been better. We had an incredible cast and crew who all got on great which made a massive difference. The lovely thing about small indie films it seems, to me, is the strong feeling of collaboration, where you get lots of people problem-solving together. As the writer and lead, there was a degree of pressure but I was having the opposite time to the character I play in the film – spoiler alert: he has a terrible time.

How has the response been at film festivals and who do you think the film will appeal to?

The response has been good… I think. We had some lovely reviews in the US off the back of Tribeca. Back then though, with COVID, the screenings were outdoors and quite spread out. The best sense we’ve had of people’s enjoyment was probably at the BFI Southbank for LFF screening indoors. Huge buzz to feel an audience’s reaction. People seemed to laugh/gasp in the right places generally and that was enough to make me feel comfortable about having to stare at my own massive head on screen for an hour and a half.

I think the film will appeal to anyone who likes things that explore how social scenarios can be inherently awkward or painful, and to see the humour in that. It’s not a feel-good movie. It’s a feel-bad movie that’s hopefully fun to watch, and thought-provoking for that reason.

You also star in the film as Pete, what is the character like to play?

Intimidating. I’ve never starred in something before. But I was at the advantage of knowing most of the lines having co-written them. I think a big thing about acting is feeling as comfortable with the character as possible, so to already know exactly what Tom (Palmer) and I wanted from Pete and the script made things slightly less terrifying.

How did All My Friends Hate Me come about and how long were you working on it with your Totally Tom partner Tom Palmer?

It came about from us just really wanting to make something ourselves that was feasible even if no one was willing to give us any money, so we thought of something that could take place in one house with v little special effects required in which we could use all our mates. Once we had those parameters, the actual writing took about five months. But from then to its now release in June, it’s been over three years.

Can you tell us about Totally Tom and do you have any future plans you can share?

Totally Tom is me and my mate Tom Palmer. We’ve been friends since we were 13 and have been doing sketches and comedy videos together for a long time, some more successful than others. Totally Tom was just the sort of name we came up with when we did our first live Edinburgh Festival show. We’re desperately trying to make another film having had so much fun on the this one, and have a few scripts on the go.

What is it like working on Horrible Histories and was there anything that drew you to the show?

It’s great fun. It was the fart jokes that drew me.

Is there anything you enjoy most about being part of the cast?

It’s really nice when kids come up and say how much they enjoy it. The filming of it is very hectic but it’s all also very silly so… dream job.

Can you tell us about filming new BBC drama Mood as Josh?

I was quite nervous – first drama I’ve done. I really enjoyed it though. Nicôle (Lecky) is a huge talent and she was very kind at putting me at ease. Especially given we had one of the most awful sex scenes I’ve seen on TV in a while, never mind been in.

How is it playing Robbie in Stath Lets Flats and can you say about your character?

It’s great fun. The more idiotic and pathetic I am, the better Robbie seems to be received. In another life I am an estate agent, and The Rob Dog would have definitely been my nickname (even though I’m called Tom).

You are in the cast of Pls Like as DumpGhost, how is this?

Good fun. Again, I seemingly play highly obnoxious people quite frequently.

Where does your love of acting, writing and comedy come from and how did you start?

Just from watching lots and lots of TV and film from a very early age. I’m incredibly grateful to my mother for letting me watch highly inappropriate stuff from an early age like Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Harry Enfield, The Tall Guy etc. Also, having an older brother is great – I was often the first to know about new comedies like Ali G, Alan Partridge or good horror films (that have also scarred me).

What are some of your favourite TV shows and films to watch?

See above. More recently, The White Lotus. Always The Sopranos. Anything by Paul Thomas Anderson, Spike Jones/Charlie Kaufman film-wise. Fave film is probably Force Majeure, although Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a close contender.

Are there any upcoming projects you are part of that you can tell us about?

There is but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s don’t tell people you’re in something until you’re absolutely certain you haven’t been cut. That said, I’ve told most of my family and friends already. So you’ll have to ask them.

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