Strike! writer-composer Danny Schur, who is shepherding the property to the silver screen, told the Winnipeg Free Press that Barks, seen as Eponine in the film version of "Les Miserables," has signed on to play the role of Rebecca Aamazoff.
The $10 million film, which follows two young lovers whose story is set during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, will also star Alan Doyle as the villainous Senator Gideon Robertson and Steven Page, formerly of the Barenaked Ladies.
"When I had a couple of hours off, I listened to this musical and just loved the music so much," Barks told the Canadian paper. "I really fell in love with this character—she's very ahead of her time, she's a suffragette, and I love her passion and her forward thinking, and how she sees the world how it could be rather than how it is. I was really moved by that."
About his co-star Doyle said, "Samantha has a unique ability to embody whatever a song asks of her. That's an incredible talent, and I think it's what separates her from other people in her field. There's never a moment's doubt about who the character is when Sam Barks is singing the song, and that's true whether she's onstage in Les Miz or you're in the pub and it's three o'clock in the morning and you've had a few pints and she's singing an old English folk song. It's a very unique and special thing to find somebody who can do that."
Schur added, "Generally, when you have a star of Samantha's calibre, that ups the interest in British movie distribution as well as interest in the United States; her involvement makes this a killer film—there's nobody on the planet more capable and suitable for this part that Samantha Barks. I really and truly believe she's the next Julie Andrews." Filming is expected to begin in Winnipeg in July.