If you were purely going by the posters and trailers, you probably wouldn’t have even noticed that a young lady called Samantha Barks was starring in one of the lead roles in Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables.” The 22-year-old English actress rose to prominence in the U.K. after appearing on an Andrew Lloyd Webber talent show before finding success in the role of Eponine in “Les Misérables” on London’s West End. After being chosen to fill the role in the filmed 25th Anniversary Concert of ‘Les Mis,’ Barks then won the role in Hooper’s version too. Sadly, her face and name are not yet recognizable enough to earn her a spot on the star-filled posters, but hopefully that will all begin to change soon.
Barks is in talks to join the cast of another big screen musical, “Walking on Sunshine,” a musical comedy set to 1980s pop songs. If “Rock of Ages” is anything to go by, then that sounds like a truly terrible idea. And this is directed by the duo behind “Street Dance” (Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini), so it’s fair to say that this won’t be cropping up on our “must see” list. But there’s no better way to soften the blow than cast the best in the business, and Barks will join Kylie Minogue who is already on board, and so too was Gemma Arterton but it looks like her role has now gone to Barks.
The film is being choreographed by John O’Connell, whose previous work includes Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo + Juliet,” so that’s something positive at least. With Barks coming off one of 2012’s best received films in ‘Les Mis,’ and Kylie Minogue similarly coming off a role in the astonishing “Holy Motors,” they’re both going into this with a bit of momentum. The film will tell the story of a mother and daughter in Spain who fall for the same man, so here’s hoping that the involvement of Kylie and Samantha is a sign that the material isn’t as monumentally awful as it sounds. [The Wrap]