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20 Questions with... Les Miserables' Carrie Hope Fletcher

Carrie Hope Fletcher recently returned to the role of Eponine in the West End production of Les Miserables, having played the part of Young Eponine as a child

Carrie Hope Fletcher
Where did you grow up?
South Harrow, just outside of London.

Was there a lot of music in the house?
More than you could imagine! My dad is a fantastic guitarist and both my brother [Tom Fletcher, of McFly fame] and I shared the same taste in music. My parents are both musical fans so we were brought up on films like Sound of Music, Oliver, Annie, My Fair Lady and many more. I don't think the house was ever silent.

What made you want to become an actor?
I've been acting since I was three so I don't remember ever not wanting to be an actor. I went through a phase of wanting to be an archaeologist but I realise now that was because of Indiana Jones and I wanted to play an archaeologist rather than actually be one!

If you hadn't become an actor, what might you have done professionally?
I probably would have been a writer or a journalist.

First big break?
The first big acting role I had was a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial when I was five. I played Little Red Riding Hood and Kelsey Grammar was the voice of the big bad wolf. It's still being shown in some countries abroad now. I often get tweets still, asking if it's really me!

Career highlight to date?
Not to sound cheesy but my first night in Les Mis. Has to be, it was a dream come true.

Favourite co-stars?
Brian Blessed was a blast to work with in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He was always a bit naughty, on stage and off. I used to charge him 50p every time he swore.

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
I remember seeing Beauty and the Beast on stage as a surprise from my parents when I was quite young. It was incredible. To this day I still want to play Belle.

And the last?
I saw Matilda a couple weekends ago and I'm still singing the songs. The message in that show is incredible. "Even if you're little you can do a lot." Just BRILLIANT - it's everything I stand for in one show!

How does it feel to be returning to Les Mis?
Overwhelming. I'm still getting teary every night. Although, I keep forgetting I'm one of the adult cast now, not a kid anymore.

Does the fact you played the young Eponine help your portrayal?
It really does. I realised the other day that the memories I have of doing the Thenardiers Inn scene as a child, are the same memories Eponine would have of that moment in her life as a child. It helps especially when Eponine meets Cosette again as an adult because I can remember being the Young Eponine who pulled faces at her and treated her badly. Now I'm playing the version of Eponine that has nothing in her life and feels badly about treating Cosette that way.

How do you go about making the role your own?
I've always had a strong idea about who I think Eponine is but I also have to be careful not to mess with how everyone in the audience thinks she is because so many people really connect to her. Plus, a lot of brilliant women have played Eponine before me who put such a strong stamp on the role and changing her drastically would probably cause some kind of uprising! I just know that she's a strong, street-wise young woman who's been toughened by the life she's led but it's her love for Marius that softens her just enough so that the audience feels for her and wants to see her get what she wants.

What's your favourite post-show hang out?
Honestly? My bed! I'm only a few weeks into my run and I've missed out on a few post-show outings because I'm half asleep by the time I'm falling out of stage door. However, the other night I did go to a pub quiz held at our local for the whole cast and crew. We called it 'Les Quizerables'! Even though my team came second, it was a really fun night.

How do you unwind?
I adore reading. I'm the proud owner of over 400 books and I'm often found with my nose in one.

If you could swap places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Jenna-Louise Coleman. I've always wanted to be the Doctor's companion!

Who's your acting/singing idol?
For acting, it HAS to be Helena Bonham Carter. I love that woman. And for singing, Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance. I'm a bit of a rocker at heart.

Favourite film?
Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

Where would you like to be in ten years' time?
In my own little house with a cat and possibly a husband if some crazy man thinks he can take me on. I'd love to have a couple more musicals under my belt and I've been wanting to write a book for a long time now. I even have about 40,000 words of one written down but I have so many ideas buzzing around my brain that I really need to get one of them out and finished.

Future dream roles?
The Doctor's Companion and either Elphaba or Glinda (I sing like one but look like the other!)

Les Miserables continues at the Queen's Theatre