Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.
If Samantha Barks is a name that’s new, that’s because Les Misérables is the first film for this Isle of Man native, who plays Éponine, the unlikely martyr who sings of unrequited love in one of the most well-known songs, “On My Own.” Barks, 22, got her start at 17 years old, on the UK reality show I’d Do Anything, where singers auditioned for a revival of the musical Oliver!. Fortuitously, one of the judges was Cameron Mackintosh, the original producer of Les Mis, who also coproduced the film.
AwardsLine: You’re the only member of the starring cast to have also played your role on stage. How did this all come about for you?
Samantha Barks: After I’d Do Anything, I was lucky to get some fantastic (stage) jobs, the first one being Sally Bowles in Cabaret. A few years later, I got a call that Cameron would like to see me for Éponine. As a musical-theater girl, who’d sing a one-woman show of Les Mis in front of my mirror, just to get to audition was exciting! And then, on my opening night of Les Mis (in the West End), Cameron announced that he’d selected me to sing as Éponine at the 25th anniversary at The 02. After (a year in Les Mis), I ended up playing Nancy in Oliver!, which is where it all began, and it was there that Cameron announced on stage, during curtain call, that I would be playing Éponine in the film. I’d been auditioning for about 15 weeks on the buildup to that, but it was the most unique way in the world you could find out you’ve got a role.