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!