LUAINE LEE

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Newseries -

IT was in his teenage years that Bri­tish ac­tor Tom Ri­ley learned what was im­por­tant in life. ‘‘ It was the death of a friend by sui­cide in my late teens who prob­a­bly never re­alised how much he meant to me,’’ Ri­ley says.

‘‘ He was a year above me in school but I ad­mired him. He wanted to act, and I thought he was in­cred­i­bly in­spir­ing. He went to univer­sity, and he was ob­vi­ously suf­fer­ing, and it proved too much for him.

‘‘ At that moment I felt like I grew up very fast, and I be­gan to un­der­stand more about how to live your life to its fullest. I owe him a great deal and I’m not sure he would have known I thought that much of him.’’

Fast-for­ward to the present and Ri­ley, 32, seems the coolest cu­cum­ber in the patch.

The truth is he is numb­ingly ner­vous. His legs quiver un­der the ta­ble, his mouth is dry, sweat is creep­ing down his neck.

Later, seated at a small ta­ble in a bois­ter­ous ho­tel lounge, he says, ‘‘ I look so re­laxed and so chilled, but the truth is I need to just not let my nerves get in the way of it.’’

He wanted to act, and I thought he was in­cred­i­bly in­spir­ing.

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