British actress Samantha Barks may not be a household name yet, but the 21-year-old is poised to become an international star when the Les Miserables movie hits theaters this Christmas. And while her character Eponine sings about the troubles of being "On My Own," the spunky actress should have no trouble fending for herself as fame comes her way.
"I like to play kick-ass roles, and my character in the film kind of embodies that," Barks told V Magazine of the French street urchin. "This is my first film, so it was a big deal for me. The theater world is very different to the film world. You have to go from projecting to a room of thousands to stripping it back to performing to something right in front of you, the camera. It allows you to be more intimate, and you can be more truthful because you're in the moment, not putting on a show."
Barks is definitely in good company for her first film, yet sharing the screen with seasoned pros like Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe didn't intimidate the newcomer. "I wasn't nervous about any of it," she said. "I've just been too excited about it all. And once I was on set, everybody was so supportive. Helena Bohnam Carter ran up to me on my first day, yelling, 'Look! It's my daughter!"
After auditioning to play Oliver's Nancy on the reality TV contest I'll Do Anything, Barks toured the U.K. as Sally Bowles in Cabaret and later joined the West End production of Les Miserables as Eponine. She was then hand-picked by famed producer Cameron Mackintosh to play the part in the film adaptation, beating out the likes of Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson.
Can't wait until December? Get a taste of Barks' talent below as she performs "On My Own" at Les Miz's anniversary concert.