'Les Miserables' star Samantha Barks has said that she had to "ignore" all the press speculation surrounding the role of Eponine.
Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson were both thought to have auditioned for the part, but it was Barks who was eventually given the incredible opportunity, despite being significantly lesser-known.
Barks rose to prominence on BBC talent show I'd Do Anything, in which girls battled it out for the chance to play Nancy in a revival of 'Oliver!' on London's West End. Jodie Prenger won the show, but Barks went on to star in the stage version of 'Les Mis'.
She told Filler magazine: "This was the biggest opportunity of my life so far, so it was hundred percent crucial that I ignored all the media hype surrounding the casting process, that way I could give my entire focus to to the part itself."
Samantha Barks (WENN)
She was told on stage during a curtain call that she had won the role, as Cameron Mackintosh made a speech.
"It was the most shocking moment of my life," she recalled. "To find out such life changing news — especially in the way I found out — was so shocking, I can barely remember it. It was like something from a dream!"
Mackintosh said late last year of Taylor Swift: "She's a lovely woman and she auditioned, and she was completely un-starry. And she's talented.
"It's just that actually the requirements of that role were better fitted by Sam.. Nearly every name you've heard in the gossip columns are true, came up for Eponine, and it's wonderful I think that somebody completely unknown got it."