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Never too late: NM film industry fixture Tom Thumb didn’t start acting until he was nearly 50

Albuquerque-based actor Tom Thumb has four projects in preproduction that are in limbo because of the film industry shutdown. (Courtesy of Tom Thumb)

Tom Thumb never wanted to be an actor.

But even the best-laid plans have room for change.

Thumb found himself in Colorado, where he met a woman who was working at the same job.

She bugged him for weeks to join an independent film she was working on.

“I actually messed up on purpose in the audition,” he says with a laugh. “They called me back for the part. So I took it seriously and studied. I got the role.”

Looking back on his journey, Thumb realizes that it’s just as unusual as he is.

Thumb started in the film industry as he was approaching 50.

“The thing with me is that I often thought to myself that I’m getting started later in life,” he says. “There were moments where I honestly thought, ‘I’m too old to start acting.’ Good thing I didn’t listen too much to that part.”

While living in Colorado, he booked some background roles and got lots of experience on a professional set.

Then came a featured background role on “Longmire.”

“I saw how much work that goes on behind the scenes,” he says. “I made the decision to move and came down to Albuquerque. I did more auditions and began to feel more comfortable.”

Thumb has since been a fixture in the New Mexico film industry.

He’s appeared in number of shorts as well as in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and the series “OffSet Web Series,” on which he’s played a bunch of characters.

Because of his rugged looks, Thumb is often typecast.

He often plays a CIA agent or henchman.

“I know my part,” he says. “You go with what your strength is. I never get auditions for the good guy. I’m interested in anything that comes my way. I love horror movies. I’m not the good-looking Barbie guy next door. I fall into the masculine bad guy.”

Like many others in the film industry, Thumb’s forthcoming projects have been in limbo.

According to his résumé, he has four productions in preproduction. They are “Action Not Words,” “Replicant Terminus: Revelation,” “The Colors of Hell” and “Replicant Terminus.”

Yet he continues to keep his acting chops on point with classes through Zoom.

He’s also loving that he can make a decent living in the industry.

“I’m realistic about it,” he says of his role in the film industry. “I fell into this, and I haven’t pursued this my whole life. It means a lot to me. In December, I will have been doing this five years. There are no guarantees in this or any other industry. It’s so competitive, and being able to stand out is humbling.”


SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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