My Secret Life: Sam Riley, actor, 31


The household I grew up in... was full – like a zoo. I have two brothers and a little sister, and she had rabbits, and there was a cat, but it was mainly my brothers and I who were the animals.

When I was a child I wanted to... be something different every week. I wanted to be every character in all the movies I liked too, but the thing that worried my parents was that I was determined to join the army for about 10 years. I spent a lot of time in camouflage cream and berets.

If I could change one thing about myself...I'd be less lazy and forgetful and clumsy. You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... I'm quite sad on James Bond trivia. I can't remember a doctor's appointment but I can tell you all the Bond girls in order.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... parking. I scratched somebody earlier.

At night I dream of... Just about all my dreams in some way or another feature corridors or rooms from my time in school; I don't know what that says about me.

I wish I'd never worn... I once got bought a Freddie Mercury-like leotard as a bet, intending to wear it on stage. I never did it, though I did once wear it while handing out hors d'oeuvres at a party. A couple of people never looked at me the same way again.

It's not fashionable but I like... I could answer all night! My music taste isn't particularly fashionable; my favourites are all old-fashioned, my finger's really not on the pulse. But that's a good thing really – who wants to be fashionable all the time?

My favourite building... My parents' house. It's in a village outside Leeds in the Wharfe Valley and it's a beautiful area. It's home.

A book that changed me... When I was a teenager, it was Catcher in the Rye ; everyone says that, but it certainly did change me. I suppose when I read Brighton Rock at school, I never thought I'd end up in it – it's weird.

Movie heaven... Curled up in bed with my missus watching something and eating chocolate. And I want to work with her on a film again!That would be movie heaven – shooting with my missus, in Berlin, and getting paid millions.

My secret crush is... Angela Merkel.

My greatest regret... Probably not calling people I should call, and it being too late.

My real-life villains... A couple of old teachers – you know who you are.

The person who really makes me laugh... My brother Jack. He's very funny, if you find base, toilet humour funny, which I do.

The last time I cried... I had an accident in the garden last week, I didn't cry but that was pretty painful – I dropped some very heavy steel thing on my big toe. Fortunately, the toe is more or less still there, but I won't be modelling flip-flops in the near future.

My five-year plan... Onward and upward.

What's the point? You've ruined my day now, asking me to think about that! Because it is fun and we're lucky to be here.

My life in six words... Born, school, band, film, wife, Berlin.

A life in brief

Sam Riley was born in Leeds in 1980 and went to Uppingham school. In 2007, he played Ian Curtis in Control, the biopic about the Joy Division frontman which has just been released on Blu-ray. While filming, he met his wife, the actress Alexandra Maria Lara. The same year he was awarded a British Independent Film Award for most promising newcomer. This year he played Pinkie in Brighton Rock, and he will next be seen as Sal Paradise in the film version of On the Road. Riley lives in Berlin with Lara

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot