General News

Sam Riley turned to acting when rock star dreams were crushed

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May 27, 2014 | 11:53am EDT

Actor Sam Riley turned his back on his dreams to become a rock star after one critic suggested his band was perhaps the worst in Britain. The 34 year old and his brother George formed British band 10,000 Things, and the siblings felt sure they had made it big when they landed a record deal in 2003, but the critics hated them and the band was dropped after one scathing review. Riley, who is about to appear on the big screen as Angelina Jolie's sidekick in Maleficent, says, "I really wanted to be a rock star. I did that for five or six years and then we got one of the worst reviews of all time in the New Musical Express. The review was bad enough that they (record label bosses) dropped us within two weeks of the review. "We were touted as the worst band in Britain. I know who wrote it; I can still remember his name!" The bad review prompted Riley to hunt down an agent who once offered him encouragement as an actor. He adds, "I did National Youth theatre as a summer course when I was 17. Then I did a play when I was 19, replacing the lead actor in London and Paris for some weeks. I got an agent who saw me do that play and then I told her I didn't want to be an actor, I wanted to be a rock star. "After we were dropped I rang this agent up and the first thing she sent me for was to play a singer in (the film) Control!" Riley landed the role of tragic Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in the film, and he has since made a handful of other films.

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