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BARKS AND RECREATION

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HBD NICOLE KIDMAN JAMES FRANCO DIRECTS SEAN AVERY Y-3 UP THE ANTE REVIEW: LIZ & DICK

BARKS AND RECREATION

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ALREADY A STAR IN LONDON'S THEATER CIRCLES, SPRIGHTLY YOUNG ACTRESS SAMANTHA BARKS IS ABOUT TO STUN MOVIEGOERS IN THE NEW SILVER-SCREEN ADAPTATION OF LES MISÉRABLES, AND IS HAVING A JOLLY GOOD TIME WITH IT

At the tender age of 21, Samantha Barks, it’s safe to say, is poised to be the breakout star of the year. She did, after all, beat out the likes of Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson, Lea Michele, and Evan Rachel Wood to land the role of heartbroken heroine Éponine in Tom Hooper’s forthcoming film adaptation of Les Misérables, the cast of which includes Hollywood heavyweights Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. When we meet, the exuberant starlet is perched on a café stool in London’s West End, displaying a charming combination of confidence and candor that belies her age, which makes it a little easier to reconcile the giggling, video game-obsessed girl with the complex characters listed on her CV.“I like to play kick-ass roles, and my character in the film, Éponine, kind of embodies that,” she explains. “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.”

After being thrust into the limelight at 17 as the youngest contestant on the BBC television series I’d Do Anything, Barks cut her teeth playing Isherwood’s tawdry temptress Sally Bowles in a national tour of Caberet. Afterward, in what turned out to be a warm-up for her film debut, she played the role of Éponine in London’s West End, and then she starred in the U.K. tour of yet another Sir Cameron Mackintosh production, Oliver! The great producer himself appeared during her final curtain call to announce her new film role.“I wasn’t nervous about any of it,” Barks says of her career gone wild. “I’ve just been too excited about it all. And once I was on set, everybody was so supportive. Helena Bonham Carter ran up to me on my first day, yelling, ‘Look! It’s my daughter!’”Barks’s enthusiasm is infectious, especially when she breaks into song, as she did three times during the course of this interview. She’s incapable of being guarded and goes off on tangents about everything, from her first performance in a lime-green leotard, at the age of seven, to her love of Nintendo 64 games like Zelda and Perfect Dark to why she’s a little afraid of mittens. Wait. How can you be afraid of mittens but not afraid of performing in front of an audience of 20,000?“People always say ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff,’” she explains, after some contemplation. “But for me, I’d rather sweat the small stuff so that the big stuff isn’t so scary! I think that’s the secret to success.”Les Misérables is in theaters this December

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HBD NICOLE KIDMAN JAMES FRANCO DIRECTS SEAN AVERY Y-3 UP THE ANTE REVIEW: LIZ & DICK
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