Impresario Cameron Mackintosh last night dramatically revealed stage star Samantha Barks has been cast as Eponine in Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of stage hit Les Misérables.
Taking to the stage at Manchester’s Palace Theatre after a performance of touring production Oliver!, in which Barks plays the role of Nancy, Mackintosh announced that Hooper had chosen the actress to feature in the Hollywood movie. American country pop singer Taylor Swift was the name most recently linked to the role.
Barks is set to join a starry cast, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, when shooting starts on the musical, which is currently slated for release in December this year. West End stars Colm Wilkinson, who originated the lead role of Jean Valjean 26 years ago, and Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine, will also make appearances in minor roles.
After finishing third in the BBC talent show I’d Do Anything – in which Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh sought the public’s help in the search for a performer to play Nancy in their revival of Oliver! – Barks took the role of Eponine on the West End stage for a year. She also played the character in the 25th anniversary concert at London’s O2 arena.
After the news broke last night, Barks tweeted: “Most incredible moment of my life!!!!” to her 32,000-plus followers. This morning she added: “I have to say trying to sleep last night, I felt like a child on Christmas eve!!!”
Watch Samantha perform On My Own at the 25th anniversary concert: