Sam Riley talks about “On the Road”


You’re following Brighton Rock with another seminal literary classic, On the Road…

Rub it in, why don’t you! Rub it in!

What led you to that film?
Walter Salles had seen Control, and I think he saw a lot of people — every young guy who is interested in acting wanted a piece of this. I auditioned with Garrett Hedlund, who had already been given the part. It was three and a half years ago. It looked like it was gonna happen, then nothing. We didn’t hear anything, it disappeared. Then, a year and a half ago, my agent rings me up and says, ‘It’s happening in two months, you’re shooting for six months all across America. Start dialect sessions tomorrow; call the personal trainer, it’s on.’ You know, I almost felt like I didn’t even have an opportunity to say, ‘Well…’ I was thinking these things: I wasn’t sure, I was intimidated, I just got married, I didn’t want to go away for six months. But, you know, it was just one of those crazy, lucky things that happened. It’s a dream gig, on paper, for a young actor to play another iconic role in such a short career. The pressure is enormous on this one. As a cast we stuck together and tried to make it as free and fun as we could, without the weight of, ‘Shit, Johnny Depp maybe played my part. And Brad Pitt. And Jack Kerouac really wanted Marlon Brando to play it.’
No one could ever get it made. The very first day of shooting, it pissed down so badly with rain that we couldn’t shoot. It was like it was never meant to be. There were many other days like that in what was a very arduous shoot in many ways for everybody — for Walter particularly, and for all those who were there for the full six months. It’s a battle to get this done. But then it was a battle to get Apocalypse Now done, and Easy Rider, so… fingers crossed.

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