Spotlight On Sam Riley


D.O.B. 8 January 1980
Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
Profession: Actor, Musician


American audiences may not know Sam Riley, but that may soon change. This year, he is leading a cast in the big screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, directed by internationally renowned director Walter Salles and executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The cast includes Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen.Riley first garnered attention with his portrayal of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in the 2007 biopic Control (directed by Anton Corbijn). The performance earned him several plaudits, including the following wins:

  • British Independent Film Award
  • Chicago International Film Festival
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • Empire Award (Best Newcomer)
  • London Film Critics Circle Award (British Breakthrough of the Year – Acting)

He also received nods by the British Independent Film Award, the London Film Critics Circle Award and notably, the BAFTA, for their Rising Star Award. If you have not seen Control, I highly recommend it, even as someone who had not heard of Ian Curtis or Joy Division prior to seeing the film.  Check out the trailer below:

Another featured role would come last year when he starred in writer/director Rowan Joffe’s Brighton Rock.

While On The Road looks like it will potentially be Riley’s breakthrough Hollywood performance in 2012, he has another film from an acclaimed director in the can. Neil Jordan’s mother-daughter vampire flick Byzantium is also scheduled for a 2012 release.

With all this potential, it is no wonder that I selected him for my HFL squad!


  1. Though I have yet to see any of his work, I do know who this guy is. I’ve been meaning to see Brighton Rock and Control. Btw, you’ve met him before at a coffee shop right? Lucky!!

  2. You had Sam Riley AND Statham in the same room with you? Lucky girl!

    I know who Sam Riley is (his wife is great, too) and I think I saw one of his movies, although I have been dying to see Control for ages- I don’t know why I keep postponing it!

    Oh, and I can’t wait to see On The Road, one of my most anticipated movies of 2012! Great post!

    • Thanks Diana

      I was on line at a Starbucks in NYC. I think they were shooting a film; it does not look like that film got theatrical distribution.
      I am really looking forward to On the Road as well.

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