Sam Humphrey followed his dreams and achieved it!
In an amazing story that parallels The Greatest Showman, actor Sam Humphrey scored a role of the lifetime to play a pivotal role in Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of P.T. Barnum.
The musical film has been consistently ranked in the top ten grossing films in the United States since Christmas and widening its release with sing-along showings the IMAX special showings.
Humphrey plays Thom Thumb, a diminutive circus player who dresses in a Napoleon costume and rides a horse. It’s his pivotal character that marks P.T. Barnum’s quest to entertainment the world with different and diverse people.
Similar to his character in the film, Humphrey also dreamed of being an actor and on the big screen. The Greatest Showman is one of his biggest breaks as he got the opportunity to act alongside his favorite childhood hero Hugh Jackman.
The Greatest Showman is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder we feel when dreams come to life.
LRM had an extensive interview with Sam Humphrey on the phone last month to discuss his experiences, his career and his future.
Read our interview transcript below:
LRM: First of all, I want to say congratulations. I’ve checked out your film of The Greatest Showman. You were quite excellent in that movie.
Sam Humphrey: Thank you. Thank you so much.
LRM: How did they discover you for the part for that film?
Sam Humphrey: Yes, certainly. So basically I did Neighbours in Australia, which is a soap opera. I did four episodes on that show. It was also broadcast in the U.K. I believed the casting company for The Great Showman saw me in Neighbours in the U.K. They reached out to an agency in the U.K. to cast really short and really tall people for the movie. That agency reached out to me. They told me that the casting company was inquiring about me. They wanted to set up an audition for me. I auditioned and landed the role.
LRM: What was the initial reaction when you heard you got the part for The Greatest Showman?
Sam Humphrey: I got an e-mail from the studio saying that, “Congratulations. We have cast Sam Humphrey as Tom Thumb.” I just stared at the e-mail for a couple of minutes. Then my mind went into overdrive on preparing and packing for [the trip].
LRM: What was the most attractive or the best thing about landing this role as Tom Thumb in the film? In its own way, it kind of parallels your life, right?
Sam Humphrey: Yeah, it does. I didn’t really realize it until a few weeks into filming. The experiences are the challenges that I had to overcome. Although, it wasn’t extreme as the challenges that I had to play. He had to go through a lot of challenges. I had to go through a lot of challenges. I wasn’t locked away in a room or anything.
The challenges for Tom Thumb was that he had nor work and nothing to offer. It’s all until P.T. Barnum comes along and said that he needed a star. He wanted to take him out of hiding and put him in front of the world for all to see.
That is how it parallels my own journey a little bit.
LRM: Tell me about some of the preparations you had to make for the film. Were they with singing, dancing or perhaps the horse riding?
Sam Humphrey: For the singing and the dancing, we spent three months rehearsing all of that before we started the principal photography. Along with that, I had to ride a horse. I had to spend two months on horse riding training.
Here’s another fun fact as well–I actually had to play the character for the entire film on my knees. I had to learn on how to walk on my knees and for long periods of time. It was quite exhausting and mentally draining—along with being physically draining.
LRM: What was the importance of doing stuff on your knees?
Sam Humphrey: Charles Stratton was only two and a half feet tall. In order to get the height difference between me and Hugh Jackman, Hugh is 6’2” and I’m 4’2”. To get a great height difference, they wanted me to get on my knees. That creates a more of a height difference between our two characters.
LRM: That is a good fun fact on the set.
Sam Humphrey: Yeah. It was very painful. In film, you have to do on what you have to do. [Chuckles]
LRM: [Laughs] For all the horse riding, was that all you? Or did they had to CGI or bring in a stunt double for you?
Sam Humphrey: They ended up doing some CGI, because we couldn’t quite get the horse to do on what we wanted it to do. It was a little dangerous for me to do it. I was on an actual horse until Hugh slaps it and then we went into CGI.
LRM: Tell me about alongside with Hugh Jackman. He is a role model to many people. I’ve heard great things about him.
Sam Humphrey: Yeah, definitely. He’s an amazing guy. He was my childhood hero since I was eight-years-old. I was the one who inspired me to follow my dreams of acting and start this career.
LRM: When was this decision you made to become an actor? How did this come about?
Sam Humphrey: I’ve always wanted to become an actor since the age of five. Lots of kids wanted to grow up to be a fireman or anybody else. It was when I was eight-years-old, I saw Hugh on the big screen for the first time. I really enjoyed his performance. Something just triggered inside me and knew that was the guy I wanted to follow as an actor and for my career. Ever since then, he was my inspiration in acting.
LRM: I’m curious. What was the film that you saw Hugh on the big screen that motivated you?
Sam Humphrey: It was the X-Men. The first one he did.
LRM: I take it that you’re a big comic book fan yourself?
Sam Humphrey: I’m a big Marvel superhero fan. I loved the message that superheroes send. You can achieve anything. Nothing is outside the realm of possibilities.
LRM: Since you’ve been motivated since your childhood, were there struggles trying to get into this business?
Sam Humphrey: There were a lot of challenges that I had to overcome. As a person, it’s the hardest industry to get into. I had to overcome my personal challenges. I was diagnosed with acrodysplasia, which basically means that my bones couldn’t grow as a child. Along with that condition, I also suffered from a lot of other things. Fast forward to when I was about thirteen or fourteen in high school, I started to suffer a lot with self-esteem issues, lack of confidence and thoughts of suicide as well. That was a lot of challenges I had to overcome.
LRM: How did you overcome those challenges? Those are really tough things to deal with for anyone.
Sam Humphrey: Personally, I had a lot of support with people around me. I had my family. I had my friends. There are plenty people who support me. At the same time, I was very good at hiding and giving a front on. A lot of people didn’t knew on what was going on.
For me, I think it was my faith that helped me keep going. I have a personal relationship with God to help me keep going and to help me overcome those challenges.
LRM: After The Greatest Showman, are you still acting in Australia and New Zealand? Or are you trying to set up a base here in the United States?
Sam Humphrey: I’m trying to set up a base here in Los Angeles. I do have a few things that are happening back in Australia, which are still getting sorted out at the moment. When it’s all set up, I’ll be heading back to film that. With that, whatever offers that come up here in Los Angeles—I will pursue. Los Angeles is definitely going to be my home base.
LRM: What is your dream role that you would love to seek out?
Sam Humphrey: Funny that you mentioned that. I was approached with that on my social media before I came on to the call. I, more than anything, would like to be cast in a Star Wars film.
LRM: Oh, really? Why?
Sam Humphrey: I’m a huge Star Wars fan and a huge Star Wars nerd.
LRM: [Laughs] Hopefully, they’ll discover you. You’ve been great so far. You’re at the pinnacle of your career, right?
Sam Humphrey: I have been reaching out to some of the people involved in the casting process for Star Wars films. Fingers crossed and maybe I’ll get a good response from them.
LRM: Are there any other actors you would love to work with? I know you already got to work with your childhood hero, Hugh Jackman. Are there other people on your acting bucket list?
Sam Humphrey: I have many, many actors who I would love to work beside. Another one of my favorite actors would be Chris Pratt. I, absolutely, love him. Somebody like Jennifer Lawrence—she is amazing. There are a number of talented actors that I watched on television and film. I would be absolutely honored to work beside them.
LRM: To correct me a bit, are you an Australian or are you a New Zealander?
Sam Humphrey: I always tell people that I am a Kiwi born Melbourne-base Los Angeles actor. [Chuckles] It covers all the bases.
LRM: And which culture do you relate to the most for yourself though?
Sam Humphrey: I have to say that I am a proud born-and-raised Kiwi.
LRM: Terrific. That’s a great answer. I love that.
LRM: I have one more question. It may be a tough one. I don’t know. What do you want people to know about the real you?
Sam Humphrey: A lot of people seems to see the challenges that I’ve faced and with the disabilities I’ve been diagnosed with. One of the most important things I like to have people see that I am more than my disability. I’m a genuine down-to-Earth person. I’m sensitive. I’m caring. I love people. I love to have a laugh. I love to have a chat. I’m just like everyone else. Just short.
LRM: [Laughs] It’s been my pleasure to have this conversation with you. Maybe one day I’ll have the chance to meet with you in person.
Sam Humphrey: Awesome. Yeah, definitely. We’ll catch up.
The Greatest Showman is currently playing in theaters nationwide today.
Source: Exclusive to LRM