‘There are so many people and so many questions and distractions when you’re on a set,’ says Samantha Barks. ‘So I find music just helps me focus.’ For Barks, who began her career as a singer, and segued into acting through some lauded West End roles, music is more than a job – it’s her method.
‘It’s huge for me!’ laughs the 26-year- old. ‘Depending on characters and scenes, I set myself musical triggers – and I pick playlists to help build each role.’ Past experiences include singing at the Donmar Warehouse, staging Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl, and establishing the character of Amélie in the eponymous musical. And while Barks’ most famous role is of Éponine in both the stage and screen versions of Les Misérables, the actress is keen to flex her acting muscles beyond musicals.
Her next film, drama Bitter Harvest, tells the story of the Holodomor, a Ukrainian genocide. A second will follow shortly after – period piece Interlude in Prague, which Barks promises is ‘lighter’.‘It’s about an opera singer,’ she says, ‘but it’s not a musical. And it may be the first character I’ve played who is happy – and doesn’t die!’