Sorry Taylor Swift. Though the “You Belong With Me” singer was at first thought to be a lock to play Éponine in the big-screen adaptation of Les Misérables, the part belongs to Samantha Barks. Universal confirmed with EW that Barks will make her movie debut in Les Mis as Éponine, a role she played on London’s West End from 2010 to 2011.
The actress might not be known to moviegoers stateside, but TV fans across the ocean might be familiar with her work: Barks placed third on the televised British singing competition I’d Do Anything. Barks lost out on the chance to play Nancy in the West End’s Oliver! production to Jodie Prenger; she managed, however, to lock in the part three years later on the U.K. tour of the production.
In fact, it was following a production of Oliver! that audiences learned of her role in the Les Mis movie — theater producer Cameron Mackintosh announced during curtain call Tuesday that Barks had been cast as Éponine in the film. Barks tweeted Tuesday, “Most incredible moment of my life!!!!” Les Misérables also stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Take a peek at what’s to come — a video of Barks singing “On My Own” during the 25th anniversary performance of Les Mis in London is embedded below.