Saturday, February 11, 2012

With 'Les Mis' Role, Samantha Barks Leaps From London's West End To Hollywood

By Emily Couch
COTLEIGH, Devon, England – At just 21 years of age, Samantha Barks is set to make the momentous leap from the London stage to Hollywood stardom. 
For everyone who dreams big, Barks – currently starring as Nancy in the UK tour of Oliver! – is a true inspiration with her shining talent and tenacity.  
Renowned theater producer Cameron Mackintosh set the Twitter world aflutter last week with his announcement that Barks would play Eponine in the much-anticipated film of the hit musical Les Misérables.   
She will join a stellar cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried to shoot the film for a release date of Dec. 7, 2012. 
Before the announcement, the internet was rife with rumors about who would land the role.  Speculation included Glee’s Lea Michele and Grammy award-winning country singer Taylor Swift. 
The news spread like wildfire over twitter and in a matter of minutes, hundreds of fans and performers alike had tweeted the elated Barks their heartfelt congratulations.
British TV star Matt Lucas, who played Monsieur Thenardier in the recent 25th anniversary of Les Misérables, tweeted:  “Fantastic news about the brilliant Samantha Barks getting Eponine in the Les Mis movie.  Couldn’t happen to a lovelier girl.”
Sabrina Aloueche, who played Scaramouche in the West End show We Will Rock You, tweeted:  “Great and historical news for musical theatre tonight as one of our own is set for Hollywood stardom! Congrats.” 
Barks herself tweeted: “Most incredible moment of my life!!!! X”  
And it’s fairly easy to imagine that this is the case.
Barks began her career in the public eye at the tender age of 18 on the reality TV show I’d Do Anything, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for Nancy in the West End revival of Oliver! 
Finishing in the top three out of thousands of West End hopefuls, Barks had shown the British public her mettle and went on to star in shows such as Cabaret as well as do several successful concerts.
From 2010 to 2011, Barks played Eponine for the first time in the London production of Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre.
Having been wowed by her opening night, Mackintosh asked Barks to reprise her role in the 25th anniversary of the show at the O2 arena alongside stars such as Lea Salonga and pop star Nick Jonas.  
The concert introduced her to an international audience, increasing her already large fan base.
Think you won’t see Barks if you’re not a musical fan? Think again.
Cementing Barks’ bridge over the Atlantic is her part in the Disney Chanel’s new animated series, Groove High, which will be aired this spring.  
As a consummate theater fan, I could not have wished for anyone else other than Barks to play in the film version of Les Misérables, and clearly, I wasn’t the only one.
So roll out the red carpet, Hollywood; move aside, Angelina Jolie.  Samantha Barks is coming to America and set to take the world by storm.   
Forget “dreaming the dream.” She’s living it.

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