When it was announced that Samantha Barks had beat out bold-faced names like Taylor Swift, Lea Michele and more to land the highly coveted role of Eponine in Universal's Les Miserables big screen musical, many people said, "Who?" Although those uneducated masses quickly learned that Barks was the beauty who brought the role to life, 8 times a week, in London's West End.
And now that everyone has seen her heart-breaking performance on the big screen, the question is no longer "Who?" but "When?" As in, "When can we see her again?" To find out more about the woman behind the big voice, ETonline caught up with Samantha Barks to reflect upon her Les Mis experience and find out which role, besides Eponine, she'd like to play next!
ETonline: You'd spent more than a year playing Eponine on stage -- but did playing her on film give you any new insight into the character?
Samantha Barks: Oh yes, with the camera being so close, you can play on so much more detail because it will be picked up, whereas in theater, you have to heighten your emotions slightly so someone 2,000 feet back can see it. This allowed us to add so many more emotions in. What I love about Eponine is that she's this strong, confident, brave girl in one aspect, but in another, she's this delicate heart who falls in love but is full of self-loathing and can barely muster up a smile. That was so much fun to play around with.
ETonline: Other than Eponine, which Les Mis role would you love to play?
Barks: There's a part of me that will always be jealous of Enjolras at the top of the barricade [laughs]. But that's never going to happen because I'm not a guy, but he's just such a cool part, with his gun and waistcoat screaming out commands. That will never happen for me, but it's a good dream.
ETonline: Well, you made it behind the barricade already, I'm sure you could make it to the top!
Barks: You know what, you're right! The sky is the limit -- I've done the guy look. It could happen. Reach for the stars!
ETonline: The cast traveled all around the world to promote this movie. What was that experience like?
Barks: It was a new thing to me because in theater, you don't do that much promotion, but what was exciting for me is that this is a job I'm so passionate about. I could talk about Les Mis for days because I love it so much. It never gets old. I can watch it and still feel as moved by a different interpretation. The power of the piece is timeless.
ETonline: I have to say, you also killed it on the red carpet.
Barks: Oh, thank you [laughs]. I guess it could be stressful on the one hand, but I loved trying on all the frocks. There's an inner girlishness that comes out in you during that. I worked with Elizabeth Saltzman on the styling for the Les Mis tour and she's a genius, so I felt lucky to work with her. I also felt so lucky to wear some fantastic dresses.
ETonline: Do you have a favorite?
Barks: Stella McCartney dressed me for the London and NY premiere and I loved those, absolutely loved. They were so different and I enjoyed that aspect of it.
ETonline: With all the carpets, did you and Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried coordinate colors of designs beforehand?
Barks: We didn't, so I guess we're lucky we all didn't arrive in the same dress. I was always so excited to get on the carpet to see what they were wearing. It's like a proper girly moment of "You look amazing!" I loved seeing the cast all glammed up and fancy.
ETonline: If you had to pick one moment from the promotion of the film as your favorite, what would it be?
Barks: I think stepping out on stage at The Oscars. There was a large aspect of me that kind of felt emotional because it was the end of our Les Mis promotional tour. But there was an amazing happiness in that moment too because we filmed that number in separate locations and never thought we'd be on stage singing it together. We were all tearful about it being over, but it was wonderful to end this run being united on that stage. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye to our Les Mis family. Although Les Mis never leaves you, it stays in your heart forever.