Riley at the Austrian premiere of "Das finstere Tal"
8 January 1980 |
Menston, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
|Spouse(s)||Alexandra Maria Lara (m. 2009)|
Riley was born in Menston, West Yorkshire, the son of "a textile agent and nursery school teacher". He was educated at Malsis School, Cross Hills and Uppingham School. He was turned down by both the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art ("LAMDA") and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art ("RADA").
His breakthrough performance came when he played the role of Ian Curtis in the film Control, a biopic about the lead singer of the 1970s post-punk band Joy Division. The film received high critical acclaim due in no small part to Riley's performance, which won him a selection of awards including the British Independent Film Award for "Most Promising Newcomer" a BAFTA "Rising Star" nomination; and a Mark Kermode nod for Best Actor 2007.
Prior to his portrayal of Ian Curtis, Riley played the Fall frontman Mark E Smith in the Michael Winterbottom film 24 Hour Party People, which details the Factory Records era. His scenes, however, were omitted from the final cut.
In September 2007, Riley was cast in Gerald McMorrow's British science fiction film Franklyn. He starred as the lead role in 13, an English language remake of the French thriller 13 Tzameti that has yet to have an American and European release. He played the role of Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock alongside Helen Mirren, released 4 February 2011. He also starred in Walter Salles' film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's autobiographical On the Road playing the narrator and protagonist Sal Paradise. He also has a small role in the German comedy "Rubbeldiekatz" (2011) in which his wife Alexandra Maria Lara plays the female lead role. His role is listed as "Wagenmeister". In "Byzantium" (2012), a film directed by Neil Jordan, he plays alongside Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan as "Darvell".
For a few years he was the lead singer of the Leeds band 10,000 Things, with whom he achieved moderate success. After their first release on indie label Voltage Records in 2002, they signed to major label Polydor for one self-titled album They disbanded in 2005.
- James Mottram: The only people for me are the mad ones. Independent on Sunday: The New Review, 30 January 2011, pp 10–13
- "BIFA Winners 2007". British Independent Film Awards. 2007-11-28. Archived from the original on 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2007-12-01.;
- Millar, Jamie; GQ; Sam Riley Exclusive!; February 2011.CQ.com Retrieved: 9 February 2011
- "Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood Scoops Movie Award". Gigwise.
- "2008 ICS AWARD WINNERS". International Cinephile Society.