Meet Samantha Barks, the actress who Tom Hooper chose to play Eponine in "Les Miserables" over established Hollywood starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Lea Michele and Taylor Swift.
Barks was notified of her big-screen break on Tuesday night following a performance of "Oliver!" at the Manchester Palace in England. Producer Cameron Mackintosh told Barks, who then Tweeted her excitement: "Most incredible moment of my life!!!!"
The 21-year-old rose to fame in England after finishing third on the talent show "I'd Do Anything" in 2008. In a twist that seems like anything but a coincidence, she actually played Eponine in a London production of "Les Miserables" from June of 2010 to June of 2011. She also starred as Eponine in the 25th anniversary production of "Les Mis" in October of 2010, after Mackintosh saw her perform in the role in London.
Hooper, who won an Oscar last year for directing "The King's Speech," has assembled an all-star cast for his adaptation of "Les Miserables": Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette and Eddie Redmayne as Marius. His shortlist for Eponine included Johansson, Michele, Swift and Evan Rachel Wood; earlier this year, it was reported that Swift had the inside track, but apparently the stage bona fides of Barks was too much for her to overcome.
So, what will Barks sound like as Eponine? Probably something like this: her performance of the famed song "On My Own" in the 25th anniversary production of the musical.
"Les Miserables" arrives in theaters on Dec. 7.
[via Broadway World]