Rebecca Lewis writes for Bleeding Cool.
It's a been a busy two months for director Tom Hooper and Les Miserables, so as rehearsals gets underway on the big screen adaptation, we should catch up on some recent casting.
Last we heard, New York casting calls were being held for the role of Cosette, the young daughter of Fantine (Anne Hathaway), leading us to believe producers were looking for an unknown actress… and then Deadline announced in early January that Amanda Seyfried was entering final negotiations for the role.
Not quite an unknown, Seyfried wowed many in the big screen adaptation of another hit musical, Mamma Mia, and is actually perfectly suited to this role, having previously studied opera and regularly contributing music to her movies' soundtracks – including the afore-mentioned Mamma Mia and teen wolf flick Red Riding Hood.
With Cosette cast, there was just one female lead remaining. The NY Post had claimed that Scarlett Johansson, Taylor Swift, Lea Michele and Evan Rachel Wood were all vying for the role of Eponine, a romantic rival to Cosette and one of the story's most pivotal characters (and also singer of perhaps the most famous song of the musical, "On My Own"). Just minutes after Deadline's story broke, Twitch Film announced that country star Swift had received an offer from the producers, however just tonight, Cameron Mackintosh announced live on stage after a performance of Oliver!, that Samantha Barks, who is currently playing the role of Nancy, had been officially cast as Eponine.
Barks, who came third in the BBC reality show I'd Do Anything, appeared to be unaware that she had been cast in the role, as Mackintosh, "told the cast and audience that he had a big announcement to make before flying to America … audience members reported that "the look on [Barks'] face was priceless". Barks has played the role on the London stage and in the 25th Anniversary Concert of the show in 2010.
With filming under way, the final few pieces of casting have fallen into place. Up and Comers exclusively revealed this past week that newcomer George Blagden had joined the cast as Grantaire, sharing "most of his screentime with Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit, whose Marius and Enjolras are close friends and fellow revolutionaries alongside Grantaire, who Jackman's Jean Valjean encounters in the second act of the story." Blagden is a little known stage actor and this will be quite the breakout for an actor whose big screen debut hasn't even occured yet – we'll see him this Spring in Wrath of the Titans.
And the UK's Daily Mail also recently revealed that two of the original London cast members have joined Hooper's big screen remake. Colm Wilkinson originally played Valjean and will now play the Bishop of Digne, who 'shows Valjean the road ahead, after Valjean has robbed him of silver candlesticks'. Frances Ruffelle, the original Eponine will now play 'the most fabulous whore', reports Mackintosh.
The film still has a set release date of December 7th 2012. Perfect timing to give Hooper a shot on his second Oscar statue?