“I love Eponine-she’s one of the best roles in Les Miserables,” said Samantha Barks. She should know, it’s the heartbreaking and tragic role that propelled the Isle of Man actress into the international spotlight. She played Eponine on the West End stage, at the Queen’s Theatre from 21 June 2010 until 18 June the following year. The show’s impresario producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh chose her for the 25th Anniversary show at the O2 in 2010 and it was he who announced her role in the Tom Hooper helmed film version. Sam had just finished performing Nancy in Oliver at Manchester’s palace Theatre when he joined her on stage for the curtain call and told her she had the part. “It was the biggest surprise of my life,” she recalled, “I was completely speechless.” When asked in an interview for Movieline how many times she had sung Eponine’s signature song ‘On My Own’, Sam said, “That’s hard-I’m rubbish at math,” before listing her history with the tune. The writer’s quick calculation came to 400+, but that didn’t include all the times as a child singing it into a hairbrush in front of a mirror, wanting to be Eponine.
Although I have meet Sam on numerous occasions in London at theatre venues, film premieres and award ceremonies, I actually sent this sketch to her while she was in Oliver in Manchester, probably just after Sir Cameron gave her the good news-a good time to catch her me thinks!