Sam Riley interview

The hottest actor on the block, Sam Riley, plays Ian Curtis in new film Contol

Already awarded Best Performance in a British Feature Film at the Edinburgh Festival, Control star Sam Riley, 27, makes the most exciting debut this year as late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

You used to be lead singer of the band 10000 Things. Did this help you relate to Ian Curtis?

I could see a lot of similarities between us. Like being on the same quest as he was to achieve music success, what it’s like to stand in front of an audience, the buzz and the exhausting nature of it.

Were you quite wild on stage, like Curtis?

Maybe I was a little bit wild sometimes? and we weren’t the best-behaved band on tour.

Did you take any advice from the remaining Joy Division members in playing Curtis?

I felt embarrassed to ask anything too personal. The only thing Bernard [Sumner] said to me before was, ‘Have fun. We did.’ That was my one bit of advice, which we tried to carry on.

You grew up in Leeds. What were you like at school ? as rebellious as Curtis?

Not massively rebellious, no, though definitely not studious either. I was one of the only ones there interested in acting. You find when you’re doing school plays that a lot of people there were on punishment, or something. But girls do tend to like drama subjects as well?

Talking of girls, you also fell in love with your co-star, Alexandra Maria Lara, who plays Curtis’ girlfriend Annik and with whom you now live. Did that add to your performance?

Although it was wonderful, it was also very difficult, because it wasn’t all that simple at the time. It wasn’t an ideal way of doing it. I wasn’t thinking, ‘This is fantastic for my portrayal.’ I was genuinely concerned as to what might happen. But thank God, she’s pretty incredible.

Control is released on 5 October

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