Sam Riley: I messed up music career

Sam Riley

Sam Riley admits he “ballsed up” his music career.

The British actor is currently starring in Disney’s Maleficent, opposite Angelia Jolie and Elle Fanning.

Before he made the move into film, Sam was the frontman of band 10,000 Things and despite releasing an album, his fate as a rock singer wasn’t to be.

“We weren’t very successful. We got one of the worst reviews of all time in the NME. We were what you’d call ‘unsuccessful’. We gave it our best shot and ballsed it up, spectacularly.

“But I won’t ever wonder if I could have been a rock star because I gave my young adult life to it until we got dropped by our label. I had a blast doing it. But we weren’t what the public wanted or the timing wasn’t right. I mean, we were better than [British band] Kaiser Chiefs though,” he joked to British magazine ShortList.

He didn’t spend too long licking his wounds though and soon started making waves in the acting world.

He was cast as the lead in 2012’s On the Road, which co-starred Kristen Stewart. Set in the late ’40s, Sam went on a month-long beatnik bootcamp to get into the role of young writer Sal Paradise.

For Maleficent he also pushed himself to fully understand the role of Diaval, the human embodiment of the evil title character’s raven.

“That’s f**king embarrassing,” he laughed. “I didn’t really know anything about ravens, for one thing. So I watched a lot of videos on YouTube. Then they arranged for me to see a movement coach from one of the London drama schools, one of the ones that refused me as a lad.

“For three hours I sat in a room with a raven. They are enormous; I had no idea. Really intimidating and incredible characters. I studied the raven and then with this movement coach we tried to incorporate things. It made me really glad I didn’t actually go to drama school, because by the end of the session I was running round the hall flapping my arms.”

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