Actor Sam Riley was bored. It had been four long years since he had last spoken with his agent and he had gone from securing small parts in television dramas to working in a textile factory to make ends meet.

But when he jokingly put in a call to ask if the new James Bond had been cast, little did he know that the chance phone call borne out of sheer frustration would catapult him into the world of stardom.

James Bond, his agent explained, had already been cast. But the slightly less ambitious part of the cult 80s pop star Ian Curtis - lead singer of post punk band Joy Division was still up for grabs.

Sam, who had already played a small part as a rock star in the Madchester film 24 hour Party People years before, knew little about Curtis. Fed up with life in Leeds, he decided to audition anyway.

It was a split second decision. But it was a decision which could determine the rest of his life. Within days he was offered the lead role in the film 'Control' which details the last five years of Curtis who committed suicide at the age of 23.

Now the film, released last month, has received rave reviews at the famous Cannes film festival, thrusting Sam into the spotlight.

He has already won best actor award at the Edinburgh film festival and is now looking forward to working in another British movie, 'Franklyn', starring big name actors Ryan Phillipe, Eva Green and Bernard Hill.

He told this newspaper: "It's incredible. Everything has moved so quickly. I'm still kind of amazed that all this has happened."

Sam, 27, was given his first taste of acting as a youngster growing up in Menston. The son of textile agent Andrew, 54, and nursery teacher Amanda, 51, he was the eldest of four children- with brothers George, 26, Jack, 24, and sister, Annabel, 21, still living in the village. His dad, Andrew, is best known in the area as the captain of Ilkley Golf Club.

A former pupil of Menston Infants school, Sam went on to star in a production of the Wizard of Oz at Malsis school in Crosshills.He played the lovable part of the lion searching for courage. But courage is one thing Sam has never been short of.

His performance was a major success with parents and teachers alike who told him he was a natural.

He said:"They told me I was good and when you hear that when you are young you want to do it again. Acting became my childhood dream - alongside the obligatory ambition of becoming a pop star."

Encouraged by his success he went on to join a youth theatre at the age of 17 and co-wrote his own play 'Kanzerstik,' which was a hit with critics at the Edinburgh film festival.

Sam said: "It was a murder mystery set in a German cigarette company full of sexist males. A woman working at the factory flips and kills them all - it was pretty basic but won me four stars in the Scotsman.!"

After finishing at Rutland school in Uppingham, Sam moved to Leeds and was asked by the youth theatre to take the leading part in a play called Dumped. Sam played a comedian living life in a skip following a bust-up with his girlfriend. Again he was well received and the play went on to be shown at Battersea Arts Centre, London and in Paris.

Sam was quickly snapped up by an agent and spent the next few years taking small television parts in dramas such as Peak Practice. His boyish looks landed him a role in Tough Love with Ray Winston in which he played the British star's son.

Sam said: "It was okay and it was great to work with Ray Winston but I got fed up with television work. All I ever seemed to say was 'All right Dad?' and that was it. None of the parts I got amounted to much and I got fed up."

It was then that Sam set about chasing his other childhood ambition of starting a band and he became the lead singer of 10,000 Things.

For a while it looked as though Sam's dreams of rock star status were about to come true. The band, in which his brother George plays bass, signed a deal with record giants Polydor and toured with the likes of Babyshambles and Razorlight.

During the Scottish leg of the Babyshambles' tour, Sam's dark brooding looks which lent themselves so well to his part as Curtis in Control, saw him mistaken for Pete Doherty who had not turned up for the gig.

Furious fans had stormed the stage looking for Doherty and later starting screaming abuse at Sam who was watching them from a house nearby. So strong was his likeness to the singer that he was questioned by two policemen who were threatening to charge Doherty for inciting a riot.

Although flattered, Sam was quick to point out their folly.

He said: "It was kind of cool being likened to Doherty but I didn't want the hassle of being arrested."

Sam sang with the band for a while but relations cooled with the music industry following a bust-up over contracts and at the start of last year, the talented actor found himself pulling pints in The Primrose pub in Leeds and working in a retail warehouse, folding cloth.

He said: "I didn't think I was going anywhere at that point. It had been four years since I'd spoken to my agent but one day I decided I'd had enough. I phoned her and joked - has Bond been cast and, well, you know the rest."

'Control' due out this Friday, is a biopic of Curtis' life. The Manchester born singer suffered epilepsy and became embroiled in a love triangle between his wife Deborah (played by Samantha Morton) and lover Annik Honore (played by Sam's girlfriend Alexandra Maria Lara) The iconic star, best known for the song 'Love Will Tear Us Apart, was renowned for his on- stage dancing which echoed the movements of an epileptic.

Sam was plucked for the role by renowned photographer turned director Anton Corbijn.

Sam said: "I remember going to the audition and thinking 'please don't ask me to do the dance'. I had a fair idea of what it was like but wasn't much of a Joy Division fan. Of course they did ask me to do it and I couldn't quite get it right so I ended up dancing round the room with Anton. It was surreal."

Once Sam was given the part he worked hard to ensure he got the moves down to perfection and even spent a night in an epilepsy clinic, watching patients fitting.

He said: "It wasn't at all pleasant and I felt really uncomfortable doing it. I didn't watch for long - I got the idea."

Still, translating what he had seen on to film was not easy.

He said: "I wasn't sure how I looked but I knew by the crew's faces I wasn't far off the mark. Someone even came over after one particular filming session and asked me if I was okay."

Unsure of how the film would be received Sam first watched the movie when he went to Cannes.

He said: "I hadn't seen it until then. I thought it was pretty powerful. I couldn't help leaning forward when I saw myself on screen - it was kind of strange. At the end people were standing up and clapping - it was such a fantastic feeling and a bit of a shock. The second I stepped out of the cinema I was confronted by the American media - it was all kind of weird."

But despite his rise to stardom, Sam never strays far from his Yorkshire roots. The actor, who now lives with his girl friend in Berlin, says he loves his home county and has his fondest memories in a holiday home in Filey.

He said: "I love Filey. We had so much fun there when I was little during the Easter breaks and summer holidays. I love going back there. I'm a Yorkshireman through and through and I love my traditional Yorkshire puddings and Seabrook crisps. I also miss my old locals in Menston - the Malt Shovel and the Menston Arms - and of course fish and chips from Harry Ramsdens."

With another independent British film in the making, Sam says he is looking forward to a long future in the business.

He said: "I'd love to work with Johnny Depp or Leonardo De Caprio - or Sean Connery. He's one of my favourites. I don't know if I want to be terribly famous. I am enjoying what I am doing now so we'll just see what happens."