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Swifties, Start Weeping! LES MISERABLES Has a New Eponine

Bon soir and buenas noches, "Monty Cristo" here.

Guess what? I'm beginning my epic battle with Harry as the site's resident muscial theatre nut with this post. I will handly destroy him in this regard. En garde, Ginger One.

It was rumored that Taylor Swift had not only been cast as Eponine in the upcoming big-budget screen musical LES MISERABLES, but that she had already begun rehearsals. is reporting that at the curtain call of tonight's UK tour performance of OLIVER! in Manchester, LES MIS film producer and theater impresario extraordinaire Cameron Mackintosh announced that Eponine would be played by none other than Samantha Barks. This seemed to surprise Ms. Barks as much as everyone in the audience.

Barks currently plays Nancy in OLIVER!, but recently played Eponine in the 25th Anniversary Concert that also featured Lea Salonga, a Jonas brother, and loads of other talented folk. It's available on Blu-ray ($16 at the moment), and I highly recommend it for fans of the show.

I took notice of Ms. Barks when she appeared as a contestant on I'D DO ANYTHING, a BBC singing competition show that was judged by Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber among others. The winner got the part of Nancy. Barks didn't win, but one can see she eventually got in there. The show itself was leagues better than the vast majority of singin' shows we get here in the States.

Here are some highlights:

DOCTOR WHO/TORCHWOOD fans will recognize John "Captain Jack" Barrowman in the post-performance comments of this next one. Dame Edna Everage fans will recognize her male...companion Barry Humphries.

Tutored by Idina Menzel on "Defying Gravity":

Tutored by Liza Minelli alongside the other finalists and then performing "Maybe This Time" from CABARET:

I have a feeling that the rumored initial casting of Swift was an effort to attract some sort of audience by the studio, and Mackintosh's camp preferred a real music theatre performer.

As big a deal as being on that show and being a West End star has been for Barks, this is an enormous boost for her career. Barks is very popular in Britain. In fact, the Isle of Man native's home island renamed itself the "Isle of Sam" during the run of I'D DO ANYTHING.

LES MISERABLES is due to arrive before end of year, directed by Tom Hooper (THE KING'S SPEECH) and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, and loads of other super-talented singer-actors.

What do you think? Any indignant Swifties think that the co-star of VALENTINE'S DAY would have been better?


"Monty Cristo"

Twitter: @MontyAICN


Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 31, 2012, 10:57 p.m. CST

    I hope this is true.

    by Corterville

    I threw up in my mouth when they announced Swift as Eponine.

  • Jan. 31, 2012, 10:59 p.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    Just check the source link, it's true!

  • Jan. 31, 2012, 11:19 p.m. CST

    This is TREMENDOUS news!,,

    by 3D-Man

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 12:01 a.m. CST


    by Box_Bruceleitner

    This was posted over at HitFix too and some idiot commented that they were interested in Les Mis before but now that Taylor Swift has been dropped they would essentially boycott the movie and that it was essentially worthless. See, it's people like that who I'm sure Bobcat Goldthwait had in mind while making his new film 'God Bless America'.

  • I know I don't speak for everybody on here (hell, who does?), but it's much appreciated. This is good news, and I'm glad to see it dealt with in a good musical nerd way.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 12:08 a.m. CST

    Three cheers for mediocrity

    by Paul Macadom

    This is actually a real shame. Barks has a boring voice and is a dull stage presence. Her Eponine is all over the place. I hate to say it, but Taylor Swift was a far more interesting choice.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 12:13 a.m. CST


    by Box_Bruceleitner

    Taylor Swift has a very limited vocal range, she really isn't that strong of a singer so although Barks may have a dull stage presence, saying Taylor Swift is a far more interesting choice is completely wrong. I don't believe that about Barks anyway, I think she's quite good and did a great job in the PBS version, I am very much looking forward to this adaptation.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 12:55 a.m. CST


    by Paul Macadom

    That's because musical theatre nerds are only interested in pretty emotionless women who can belt and enunciate. The part needs someone ballsy with an ugly voice who can carry the emotions. No-one remotely interesting has played this role since Frances Ruffelle back in 1985. I'm not saying Taylor Swift was inspired casting. I'm not saying she could have acted the part. It was just a bit more outside the box than this.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 1:01 a.m. CST

    Trismegistus13 "Hearts" Taylor Swift

    by elmo

    Dude, she doesn't read these posts and she ain't gonna call you. Maybe you can troll for Miley Cyrus. Naah, she's not gonna call you either, no matter how "outside the box" you think you are.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 1:40 a.m. CST

    Lea Salonga is the definitive Eponine

    by Purple_Tentacle

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 2:13 a.m. CST

    Purple tentacle

    by Paul Macadom

    Thank you for demonstrating my point.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Barks was the smart move

    by SunsetLament

    She is easily the best choice available.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 3:15 a.m. CST

    If "Ain't It Cool?" had a question mark at the end...

    by nnnuts

    This post makes the answer "no".

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Oh thank GOD - Swift would have sucked balls.

    by AnnoyYou

    This girl can sing, act and actually looks right for the part of a 19th century French street urchin. It appears that the producers are actually getting a clue - first the wooden and untalented Blake Lively gets tossed from a Soderbergh film in favor of the much more able Rooney Mara, and now Taylor Swift gets shoved aside for a gifted unknown. Now if only someone would kick the uber-annoying Anne Hathaway out from Les Miserables, and it might actually turn out to be a movie musical worth watching.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 3:23 a.m. CST

    Isle of Sam? Brilliant!

    by recantha

    Samantha Barks was always headed for something good after I'd Do Anything - great presence, great voice and very good at taking advice and direction. Soooo much better than Taylor Swift. Shaping up to be _very_ promising.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Please, God!

    by Clio

    Have veteran theater performers in the singing roles....please!!

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 7:09 a.m. CST

    This is phenomenal news!

    by Mordock57

    Taylor Swift was all wrong for this. My fingers were crossed for Lea Michele, but this is definitely a terrific fallback plan from Swift.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 7:50 a.m. CST

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    i was never a fan of the idea of Swift, but the rest of the casting was perfect, so if the producers thought she could do it, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. That being said, this is great news. If for nothing else, to remove the stigma that having Swift in it would have given the movie, even if just in public perception before giving her a chance. ...and I do hope we see more musicals head to the big screen (Miss Saigon, please!). Glad there's someone on staff now to support these!

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 7:52 a.m. CST

    ^ oops, no subject entered

    by ShiftyEyedDog

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Well this makes a little more sense

    by seasider

    I have nothing against Taylor Swift as a musician but having her portray one of the more coveted female roles on Broadway felt like Tom Hooper was selling out. My main concern about Samantha Barks is on how well will she handle herself surrounded by a cast of Hollywood heavy hitters. But congrats to her and best of luck in the movie.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 9:02 a.m. CST


    by Teto

    Man, did you see how mad trismegistus13 got after bruceleitner added their 2 cents? How uppity can you get? All leitner said was, "I don't think Swift would have been good" and trismegistus13 started attacking all music theatre fans. LOL Have a Coke, bro.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Kind of hate Les Mis on general principles

    by PDepew2181

    That's mostly because I think Andrew Lloyd Webber is a bit of a hack. The word "bombastic" always comes to mind when I think of his work. BUT! I have always enjoyed the hell out of "Master of the House," and I am very much intrigued to hear Sacha Baron Cohen perform it. That still won't be enough to get me to the theater to see this, though. Unless it gets Oscar noms and forces me to go.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 10:03 a.m. CST


    by Monty Cristo

    Lloyd Webber's got 99 productions but LES MIZ ain't one. It's Boublil & Schonberg (MISS SAIGON, etc), son.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 10:05 a.m. CST

    lenny nero

    by Monty Cristo

    I really genuinely love this stuff. More musical-y goodness coming.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST

    She's so keen, my Eponine, She's so fine, my Eponine.

    by cookylamoo

    Love that song.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Very surprising news.

    by jim

    I figured the "Taylor Swift is in negotiations" rumour made it an all-but-done deal. I had still been holding out hope for a surprise announcement of Emmy Rossum. This surprised me more, and am thrilled by it. As much as I enjoyed the 25th Anniversary Concert, it was still just a concert and not an actual performance of the musical. I'm really looking forward to seeing Samantha Barks perform the role of Eponine in full. Really great news.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    At least Lloyd Weber's shows have a certain campy humor.

    by cookylamoo

    These frogs just produce one shmaltz-a-thon after alone. They think music is basically going up and down the scale.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Two more cast additions from the London stage

    by jim

    Last week it was announced that two (so far) from the original London company would be in the movie. Colm Wilkinson will be playing the Bishop (absolutely perfect) Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine will be playing a Lovely Lady (waiting for the customers who only come at night)

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Yikes...I deserve the Cone of Shame for that one

    by PDepew2181

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    All just rumors...that big, fat chick from PRECIOUS will be Eponine.

    by BurnHollywood

    Heard she has a singing voice like Glen Danzig, 'struth!

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Blake Lively haters didn't watch The Town

    by garagons

    Also, I saw her once at a restaurant in NYC and she was the nicest person ever. Took the time to chat and take pictures with anyone who asked. My blondie russian date was so excited meeting her favorite actress... Thanks Ms Blake for helping me get laid. You are a class act

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Did she hand out snapshots of her titties?

    by cookylamoo

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Her DEFYING GRAVITY was terrible.

    by Retlaw Kciuq

    Can we at least count her out on Wicked? And can we at least hold off on a Wicked film adaptation until someone interesting comes along or until I get a couple of films under my belt? Wicked, Spring Awakening, and Love Never Dies are three I would direct with my eyes closed.

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 5:04 p.m. CST

    retlaw kciuq

    by Monty Cristo

    I actually quite agree. She has enormous potential, but she ain't Idina Menzel just yet (and I don't think anyone ever will be).

  • Feb. 1, 2012, 6:47 p.m. CST

    I'm really happy about this news

    by CreamCheeseAlchemist

    She appealed to me the way the Jonas brother appeals to straight women... But hey, I feel like sharing this: The Marius is so awful, it defies explanation... And those berets, lol

  • Feb. 2, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    re: "Her DEFYING GRAVITY was terrible"

    by jim

    It was rather stagey. However, it was also over 2 years ago; she's gotten a ton of experience since then. Speaking of Idina Menzel, that's one reason why I'm not thrilled with Anne Hathaway as Fantine: I was hoping Idina Menzel would be cast in that part. But then again, she kinda already played that part on Glee.

  • Feb. 2, 2012, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Idina Menzel

    by Paul Macadom

    is a glorified wedding singer. Besides, she looks too modern for this (as does Lea Michelle). They both oversing.

  • Feb. 3, 2012, 3:08 p.m. CST

    After reading this talkback, I think i like boys now...

    by ZodNotGod

    UGH. Where am I?

  • Feb. 6, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST

    by JayDoubleyou

    LOVE THIS NEWS! So glad it's not Taylor Swift!!! LES MIS IS MY FAV SHOW