Pictured: The moment I'd Do Anything star Samantha Barks discovers she's beaten Taylor Swift to the role of Eponine in Les Miserables movie
After months of speculation, I'd Do Anything contestant Samantha Barks has been confirmed to play Eponine in the film adaptation of Les Miserables.
The 21-year-old was stunned when she was given the news by producer Cameron Mackintosh on stage at the Manchester Palace Theatre during the curtain call for Oliver! – in which she currently plays Nancy.
The brunette, who has already played Eponine in the West End, beat the likes of Taylor Swift, Lea Michele, Evan Rachel Wood and Scarlett Johansson, who had all been touted for the coveted role.
The newest Hollywood star: Samantha Barks will play Eponine in the film adaptation of Les Miserables
Shock: Barks finds out about the role on stage in Manchester on Tuesday night from Cameron Mackintosh
Taking to the stage at the end of Oliver! on Tuesday night, Mackinotsh told the audience: 'For the last few months in Hollywood, Broadway and London, we've been searching for Eponine and you in Manchester are going to be the first people to find who it is…
'And now our director Tom Hooper has chosen her for the movie.'
A shocked Barks threw her hands to her face as her Oliver! castmates and the audience erupted into cheers.
Celebration: Barks reacts as Mackintosh announces her Hollywood break
Appearing on BBC Breakfast today, Barks, who hails from the Isle Of Man, admitted she was still in disbelief.
Filming on the eagerly anticipated movie starts in March, with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne among the star-studded cast.
Barks, who came third on BBC talent show I'd Do Anything in 2008, will play an innkeeper's daughter who falls in love with Redmayne's student character Marius, who in turn is in love with Cosette – played by Amanda Seyfried.
Eponine's parents Monsieur Thernardier and his wife will be played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.
Experienced: Barks played Eponine in the West End and 25th anniversary productions of Les Miserables
Eponine features in several musical numbers and performs the well-known ballad On My Own.
She told BBC Breakfast: 'I'm really and excited to meet the cast and work with them all.
'I've had such an amazing journey with
the character, I'm so excited to get the chance to explore another side
of her because I played it in the West End for a year and I did the
concert at the O2 and now it's the film so it's a big old journey.'
She tweeted last night: 'Most incredible moment of my life!!!! X.
Search for a star: Then-teenage Barks in BBC talent show I'd Do Anything in 2008
'Words cannot express how much I appreciate all the amazing support I
have received from everyone! I haven't stopped smiling!! 🙂 🙂 :).'
Despite coming third to winner Jodie Prenger in I'd Do Anything, Barks soon landed a role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
In 2010, she was cast as Eponine in the West End production of Les Miserables, which she played for a year.
She is currently playing Nancy in the Manchester production of Oliver!
Missed out: At one point it had been reported country singer Taylor Swift, pictured yesterday in Hollywood, would be playing Eponine