Date of Birth: January 8, 1980
When Variety Magazine put Sam Riley on their “10 actors to watch” list in 2007, they were certainly on to something. Riley was born in Menston, West Yorkshire and only began his brief yet significant acting career in his early twenties.
Initially the lead singer of the now-defunct band 10,000 Things, Riley began appearing in TV movies in 2002, then made his feature film debut in the 2007 biopic Control. Acting as Joy Division's troubled front man Ian Curtis, it was here that Riley began to get recognition for his trademark glass-eyed gaze and punk rock aesthetic—an extension of his real life persona. Christopher Bailey, Chief Creative Officer of British luxury fashion label Burberry, was one of the people who took note of Riley’s distinct look, as he set up a 2008 Burberry publicity campaign shot by acclaimed fashion photography Mario Testino, featuring Riley as a model.
In 2008, Riley went on to act as Milo in Gerald McMorrow's sci-fi thriller Franklyn, then as a naive young man named Vince who accidently gets involved with a deadly underground Russian roulette gambling ring in 13. In Brighton Rock, the 2010 film adaptation of English author Graham Greene's 1938 novel, he played the suicidal gang leader, Pinkie. In 2011, Riley took a break from his usually austere protagonist roles to play a smaller part in the German comedy Woman in Love.
Recently, he played Sal Paradise in the 2012 feature film rendition of Jack Kerouac's beat generation manifesto On the Road. Working alongside Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortenson and many other high profile actors, On the Road is Riley's most recognized and widely publicized project to date.
Riley also completed roles in the mother/daughter vampire flick Byzantium (2012) and opposite Angelina Jolie in Robert Stromberg's fantasy-horror take on Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent (2014). He appeared in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) and Free Fire (2017) with Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy. He also stars in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019).
Riley married his Control co-star Alexandra Maria Lara in 2009 and the couple live together in Berlin.
Free Fire (2017) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) Suite Française (2014) Maleficent (2014) Byzantium (2012) On the Road (2012) Woman in Love (2011) Brighton Rock (2010) 13 (2010) Franklyn (2008) Control (2007)