Riley Griffiths isn't a household name, at least not yet. At 14, the aspiring movie star who has acted in theatrical productions since the first grade has only landed one major role, a co-starring role in the summer 2011 J.J. Abrams blockbuster "Super 8." In the future, he hopes to act in more Hollywood flicks and, possibly, start his own production company, like Abrams.
For now, he's trying to read scripts and schedule meetings while attending classes at Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline High, where Griffiths is in the midst of his first semester of high school. According to the Seattle Times, he's doing something else there, too: Starting on the Skyline freshman football team's defensive line.
"He's very humble," Skyline football coach Mat Taylor told the Times. "You would never know that he had been in a Steven Spielberg movie and had a starring role, that's for sure."
That humility may come from Griffiths' dual passions, and his acknowledgement of his own place in the Skyline football program's pecking order. Griffiths told the Times that he began playing football at age 6 (the same time he started acting), and hopes to get almost as much out of his athletic career as he does from acting.
To that end, the 6-foot, 186-pound freshman -- he dropped 30 points after filming wrapped for "Super 8" -- put his acting efforts on hold for football season, a commitment which follows Griffiths' often successful attempts to organize hosts of touch football games while filming "Super 8" in fall 2010, an effort that was aided by the presence of actor Kyle Chandler, more commonly recognized as coach Eric Taylor from the TV series "Friday Night Lights."
"Oh my gosh, our set was probably the biggest football set of any set ever," Griffiths told the Times' Mason Kelley. "We played catch all the time and we would have two-hand touch football games. The whole crew would get in on our football games."
And Griffiths makes no bones about who the biggest star on Skyline's campus is. That honor is reserved for Spartan starting quarterback Max Browne.
"He's a great quarterback and a great football player," Griffiths told the Times. "I haven't really talked to him much, but he's definitely the biggest. I'm just a nerdy freshman."
He may be a nerdy freshman, but Griffiths is a notable one, something which fully sank in when he stood on the sidelines with some of his freshmen teammates before the annual Skyline-Bellevue rivalry game. While the varsity Spartans warmed up enthusiastically, Bellevue fans in the crowd started a chant that had absolutely nothing to do with the forthcoming game:
"Su-per eight. Su-per EIGHT! SU-PER EIGHT!"
While Griffiths was able to deflect the attention, he later admitted that the chant had been a moment of awakening for him, where he realized that his recent fame would follow him, no matter how impressive his football credentials are.
"It was pretty crazy," Griffiths said. "I didn't really know how to react to it."
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