Samantha Barks

U.K. singer-actress Samantha Barks was chosen over a wide and varied array of name talent, from Scarlett Johansson to singer Taylor Swift, to play Eponine, the doomed young heroine of "Les Misérables" in the 2012 film version of the famed musical. Prior to her ascent to fame, she was largely unknown outside of her native Isle of Man, save for her participation in the competition series "I'd Do Anything" (BBC, 2008- ), on which she placed third in a talent search for an actress to play Nancy in the musical "Oliver"! Though she did not win the series, she enjoyed steady work in U.K. musical theater for the next few years before being selected to play Eponine. The worldwide anticipation for the film "Misérables" put Barks in the enviable position of playing one of modern theater's most beloved roles, which would invariably boost her profile across the globe.