Her escape is just going into a dreamlike state and picturing her life with Marius. Mine was theater." Barks acknowledges that she does not look her best in the film, which is already collecting Oscar talk. Besides being alarmingly thin to better achieve proper waifishness, "I looked more tired. While Hugh Jackman's bitter ex-con turned benevolent businessman, Jean Valjean, commands much of the action in the movie version of the musical Les Misérables, the youthful love triangle formed by newcomer Samantha Barks as Éponine, Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette serves to heighten the emotional punch of the story.Her signature tune in Les Mis might be the unrequited-crush classic On My Own, but it is hard to imagine this vibrant ingénue not attracting a crowd.Barks possesses more experience with Les Misérables, a story of oppression and redemption in 19th-century France, than most of her co-stars — including Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe — after performing as Éponine in London's West End after breaking out on the British series I'd Do Anything in 2008.USA TODAY speaks to the actors about their roles in the film, which opens Christmas Day.A contestant in a TV talent competition blessed with a stellar set of pipes ends up an also-ran. Instead, she goes on to earn bravos for her film debut after winning a coveted role in a much-anticipated musical with a roof-rattler of a ballad that perfectly showcases her unique talent."But I'm entering into it with a character I know so much about and a piece I know so much about.
"For some reason, the character strikes a lot of buttons." More proven talents such as Glee's Lea Michele and Scarlett Johansson were in the running."I grew up on a tiny little island." Half-sprawled on a bed in a pricey Manhattan high-rise hotel while wearing a snuggly robe over her pretty white frock, she seems happily stunned by the process of doing publicity for a film."I've never done a movie, and I've never done a movie junket," Barks says.," also has an interesting challenge ahead of her: she will be portraying the daughter of Fantine, who is to be played Anne Hathaway.The stars round out a cast that also features Hugh Jackman in the lead role of Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert.