Interview With Actor Jim Thorburn, “Engaging Father Christmas”

By Ruth on November 11, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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A few months ago, thanks to the vivacious Tammy Gillis, the accomplished actor Jim Thorburn was brought to my attention (they are married, in case you were unaware). While his name was somewhat unknown to me, his talent and works included some of my classic and current favorites. As I have been faithfully following his career all this time now, I was ecstatic to promote his upcoming film, Engaging Father Christmas, and he was kind enough to chat with me briefly about his role in this upcoming film as well as add a few other noteworthy details.

RH: So nice to get to chat with you again.

JT: Same here, Ruth.

Actually, this is the first time we get to actually speak with each other because last time, schedules were so crazy we did it by email. 

That was such a great article last time. I really appreciate it.

Jim Thorburn, Jill Wagner Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Well, it was my pleasure, and I’m looking forward to this follow-up one as well. Now, I know that your Christmas movie last year, Christmas Cookies, has been getting a lot of airtime. 

It’s funny with that one. It really has done quite well.

It has! Not that I didn’t like it or anything, but I was amazed at the incredible fan response to it.

Lacey Chabert, Eric Keenleyside, Corey Sevier, Jim Thorburn, Lini Evans, and Alisha Newton in The Tree That Saved Christmas

And interestingly enough, the one I did with Lacey Chabert, The Tree That Saved Christmas, was another one I had no idea was going to be so big. New York Times actually named it one of the top seven MOW’s to watch the year it came out. That’s just wild, in my opinion. And David Winning directed that one, too. He’s a really great guy, and he directed this upcoming sequel for us as well.

Which we are looking forward to seeing on Sunday. Speaking of Christmas movies, you were in Finding Father Christmas last year. It was such a big hit last year, and every time I watch the scene where everything is revealed, I just sit there and cry because it’s such a good scene. And of course, at that point, your character is not very nice.

No, he’s very protective of the family. And there is that one line that Erin {Krakow} says where no acting is required…when she says, “What about me?”

Absolutely. And I just did interview Aliyah O’Brien and I’ve got an upcoming interview with David Winning and Niall Matter still to go.

That’s cool.

The Whitcomb House
BTS Engaging Father Christmas

So I’m curious. Did you know last year that there was going to be a sequel to Finding Father Christmas

I didn’t. I don’t know if Robin Jones Gunn, the author, had said anything about there being a follow-up or a possible sequel; I may have missed that. I was in Hawaii at the time, in Maui, and I got this call saying I was booked for this movie sequel. And I was like, “What?” It was a great surprise.

And now I have heard whispers about there being a third movie next year called Marrying Father Christmas

I think so. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think it will happen.

I’m with you there. I can’t see where this movie isn’t going to be at least as big as last year if not bigger. It seems like Hallmark’s viewership has gone way up. 

This network is amazing. I think it’s a reflection of what’s happening out there right now. Things are just so crazy, but this network is a nice respite to go to and watch a good story.

Christmas Tree Lighting
BTS Engaging Father Christmas

Without giving away any spoilers, what can you tell us about Engaging Father Christmas and your character in the film?

For myself, it kind of rides in the same area that the first one was. My father has passed away and so it’s me and my mother, Wendie Malick, who is amazing. I’m still trying to be the one who’s protective and trying to keep the tradition alive. But in this second one, I’m also delighted that Miranda (Erin), is part of the family. We still want to keep everything under wraps as to what the family’s up to. Privacy is very important. That’s the standout again. It’s a celebration of having this sister that I didn’t know I had.

When I read the synopsis and it talked about how Miranda is receiving threatening texts that someone is going to expose her father for who he was, it sounds like a really exciting follow-up. 

Yes, the fact that she’s being blackmailed because her real father has this past that was covered up… there’s definitely some tense moments and it will be something to see what’s gonna happen. And overall for me, what I think was so great was the cast got back together and it wasn’t even like work. Literally, it was like we were a family again.

Jim Thorburn, Aliyah O’Brien, Wendie Malick Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Kailey Schwerman

I was glad to see everybody come back because I know sometimes when they do sequels, they can’t always get everybody back. 

It was interesting. I remember I was reading for another Christmas movie with the director who did the first one {Terry Ingram}, and he asked, “Are you going back to the new Engaging Father Christmas?” At that point, I hadn’t really heard, but he told me they were making it. He had wanted to go back, but he couldn’t do it. And so it ended up being directed by David.

Well, I think this one has the possibility to be pretty huge.

It will be interesting to see where this goes, but I’m with you. I think there will be a third.

I hope so. I know everyone I talked to wants to do a third one. And why wouldn’t you want to? There is something special about that cast. You guys seem to all click together really well. Even the composer, Graeme Coleman, said that the chemistry of Erin and Niall on screen makes this movie really special. 

Yeah, you just want to root for them.

What are some of your other more recent works?

with Lindsay Maxwell
Woman On the Run

Well, I was really busy with Aurora Teagarden and Hailey Dean and now Engaging Father Christmas. Then I had another Lifetime movie that came out {Woman On the Run}. But right now, I’m doing a lot of auditions. And now Tammy is just so busy right now, which is just fantastic. But yeah, this business does tend to ebb and flow. You clearly can’t control that. But I’m definitely looking forward to the premiere this weekend.

Absolutely. And you know, I’m still pulling for you and Tammy to be in a Hallmark movie together some time. 

Oh, I know that would be the best! We’ve come close, but I’ll be sure to let you know if something like that happens.

I know the Hallmark fans would be all for it. And maybe you’ll even get the chance to come on When Calls the Heart.

I’ve auditioned for that show a few times, even recently. So far, it hasn’t happened, but I would love to do that show.

Well, fingers crossed then. But we will definitely enjoy seeing you in Engaging Father Christmas this weekend, and I can’t thank you enough for taking some time to chat with me again, Jim. This was really nice.

Ruth, I thank you and all the fans for their support. We really hope you love the movie!

Chatting on the phone with Jim was quite pleasant as I discovered he was exactly how I had pictured and characterized him in our first interview. He is kind, courteous, and exceedingly introspective and observant, which gives him a perspective that is all his own. Accordingly, the paramount trait that he exudes is that of genuine gratitude. Jim does not take any of his experiences or roles flippantly nor for granted. On the contrary, Jim is careful to vocalize and demonstrate his appreciation whenever possible. Humility is something he practices and preaches as opposed to merely giving lip service to such an integral quality. Even though he is experiencing a bit of a lull in his career at the moment, he accepts this as part of his chosen profession with a quiet sort of grace and forbearance that comes from one who is convinced he is being faithful to his authentic self as well as his “calling” in this life. 

Therefore, please tune into Hallmark Movies & Mysteries this Sunday, December 12th, and watch the premiere of one of the most anticipated sequels of the holiday season–Engaging Father Christmas. Additionally, if you are so inclined, please check out all of his links below and consider following him where applicable. As we fans are passionate about the actors who choose to share their lives and talents with us on a regular basis, I think we all would agree that casting him and his gorgeous wife, Tammy, in a Hallmark film together would be a veritable treat. Likewise, Hearties would love to see a man of his caliber and repertoire featured in When Calls the Heart as I have no doubt he would be a welcome addition. He is definitely deserving of all the support we can give him (and then some), and I can hardly wait to see him savoring the fulfillment of all his hopes, dreams, and ambitions!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

2 Comments

  1. denise November 14, 2017 Reply

    I’ve seen several of his movies and have enjoyed his acting.

    • Author
      Ruth November 14, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Denise I agree. He’s pretty good.

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