Home  / News Room

New Order Information Service

Bright young Brit shines in Joy Division biopic

(The Telegraph) - Published 2007-05-17 7:52:00 PM - 7:52:00 PM

A failed rock star who until recently was packing shirts in a warehouse has been hailed as one of Britain’s brightest new acting talents at the Cannes Film Festival.

Sam Riley, 27, who admits that his band, Ten Thousand Things, "never troubled" the pop charts, has been lauded for his performance in Control, the British film about the late frontman of seminal 1970s group Joy Division.

Critics have described his portrayal of troubled singer Ian Curtis, who committed suicide on the eve of the band's first American tour, as "spectacular" and "outstanding".

Yesterday it received a standing ovation at its premiere on the Croisette. Even surviving members of the group were impressed.

Riley, from Leeds, who also performs all the songs in the film, gave up acting after playing Ray Winstone’s son in a television drama seven years ago while a member of the National Youth Theatre.

Finding himself disliking the experience of working on a set, he switched to music and writing songs for his band which briefly secured him a record deal.

However, their lack of hits forced him to work in bars and fold shirts in a factory. It was then that his old agent was contacted by Anton Corbijn, director of Control.

He said: "I had not spoken to my agent for four years. I was sent on an audition and then they rang me on my 26th birthday and said I had the part.

"To be in Cannes is like a daydream. To have filmed in Nottingham, obviously one of Britain's most glamorous cities, and then come here has been just crazy."

He said his previous career had helped him for the part. "I was a singer in a band," he said. "That is what I was doing previous to this film. It was just a case of practising his dancing style in the mirror."

Corbijn, a celebrated rock photographer shooting his first movie, said he never expected to find someone so perfect for the part.

"Not only does he look like him but he has the same innocence and charisma. I cannot think of the movie without Sam.

"Normally when you make a movie like this, you always disappoint people and fans but I honestly do not think Sam will disappoint anyone."

David Gritten, the Telegraph film critic, said: "I thought he was absolutely outstanding. I thought he captured the role perfectly. For a first time actor it was an incredible performance."

Peter Hook, the bass player with Joy Division and New Order which evolved from it, said: "He really caught the essence of Ian's character. It was like hearing Ian. It sent shivers down my spine."

Shot in black and white, with Nottingham standing in for Macclesfield, Control is the story of the last years in the life of Curtis who hanged himself in 1980 as the band stood on the threshold of stardom.

An intense character, Curtis suffered increasingly from epileptic fits towards the end of his life. While dedicated to his young wife Deborah and their baby, he was torn between his mundane life in Macclesfield and the excitement of touring with his band.

Their biggest hit was Love Will Tear Us Apart. His illness and tangled love life as well as the increasing responsibilities of the band led to him being unable to cope with the world. He hanged himself in his home exactly 27 years ago today, aged 23.

Thanks to One Brain for the submission and informations

news seperator leaf

Excerpts taken from The Telegraph.
© Copyright 2007 NewOrderOnline.com, except the works of other authors. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.