By Alynda Wheat
January 21, 2013 12:00 PM

>BREAKOUT STARS!

Eddie Redmayne

HE’S A CLASS ACT

The London native, 31, who plays young revolutionary Marius, went to Eton (with Prince William!) and Cambridge. His parents were skeptical of his pursuing acting as a career until Kim Cattrall presented him an Outstanding Newcomer award for his stage work in 2004: “When my dad saw Samantha from Sex and the City was giving me a prize, then he knew something was going right.”

HE’S A LES MIS FAN FROM WAY BACK

“I saw it when I was 7,” he says. “I wanted to be [street urchin] Gavroche!” Redmayne sang as a kid but underwent serious vocal training for the demanding movie: “You literally have to retrain the muscles in your throat to have the stamina.”

HE’S PALS WITH SPIDER-MAN

“One of my best friends is Andrew Garfield. That’s what’s wonderful about us British actors who started in London together. Now I have friends everywhere.”

Samantha Barks

SHE WAS DISCOVERED ON A TV TALENT SHOW

Raised on the U.K. dependency the Isle of Man, Barks, 22, got her big break on the British talent show I’ll Do Anything, judged by Les Mis producer Cameron Mackintosh. “I didn’t expect to get past round one,” she says. “But I came in third and got an agent from it.”

SHE DID LES MIS ONSTAGE FIRST

In 2009 she joined the London production as Eponine, the streetwise girl who pines for Marius. To nab the role in the movie, she beat out A-listers including Taylor Swift and Lea Michele. “Just to audition was the coolest thing!” she says. “I had never done a film. It was a huge gamble.”

SHE BONDED WITH THE BIG STARS

At one cast dinner, “Anne Hathaway and I stood up on this glass table and sang “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent. We all bonded over music. And Russell Crowe invited me to sing with his band in New York!”

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