Miz Right: New kid in town Samantha Barks scores breakout role in "Les Misérables"
The 22-year-old, who finished third on the British reality show “I’d Do Anything,” plays Éponine in the new film version of "Les Miz."Comments (3)
By Marshall Fine / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Saturday, December 29, 2012, 6:27 PM
Updated: Sunday, December 30, 2012, 2:00 AM
Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Samantha Barks attends the "Les Miserables" New York premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on December 10.
Third place made Samantha Barks a winner.Barks, who plays the lovelorn Éponine in the new film version of “Les Misérables,” got her break on the British reality contest show “I’d Do Anything.”
She finished third in a competition to play Nancy in a West End revival of “Oliver!” — but was launched into a musical theater career that led to her featured role in the Golden Globe-nominated film and potential Oscar contender.
In a movie that touts Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried (as Fantine and Cosette), Hugh Jackman (as Jean Valjean) and Russell Crowe (as Inspector Javert), it’s the unknown Barks who turns out to be the revelation of the French Revolution poperatic drama.
©Universal/courtesy Everett / E
Samantha Barks in "Les Miserables."
“It was a grueling audition process,” Barks tells The News. “But then, I’d never done a film.”
She learned she had won the role in “Les Miz” during a curtain call with a different stage production of “Oliver!” in Manchester. Cameras caught the young actress’ look of shock, relief and amazement.
Having played Éponine in front of live audiences for a year, Barks had no problem with Hooper’s decision to have the actors sing live for the camera, rather than prerecording vocals and lip-synching for the camera.
“It’s not like I was going into an unknown role,” she says. “The main difference in doing it for the camera is that, while you still need the same emotional scale and climax, you don’t have to heighten it to hit 2,000 seats. You can rely on the beauty of the text. You can be more real, more subtle, more intimate.”
Barks, 22, started dancing at 3. At 10, she discovered singing and acting as well, always performing in something within the comfortable confines of the Isle of Man — population 84,000 — off the British coast. “I did plays and straight acting in school during the week and sang with rock groups at the weekend,” Barks told The News.