Rodrigo Santoro

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This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Junqueira dos Reis and the second or paternal family name is Santoro.
Rodrigo Santoro
Rodrigo Santoro-012 (15486408819).jpg
Santoro in 2014
Born Rodrigo Junqueira dos Reis Santoro
(1975-08-22) 22 August 1975 (age 41)
Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nationality Brazilian
Occupation Actor
Years active 1993–present

Rodrigo Junqueira dos Reis Santoro (born 22 August 1975) is a Brazilian actor. He has appeared in many successful movies, including Brainstorm (2001), Carandiru (2003), Love Actually (2003), Che (2008), I Love You Phillip Morris (2009), and Rio (2011). He is perhaps most famous for his portrayal as Xerxes in the movie 300 (2006) and its subsequent sequel 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). He was also a series regular on the television series Lost portraying the character Paulo.

Life and career[edit]

Santoro was born in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro state, to Maria José Junqueira dos Reis, an artist, and Francesco Santoro, an engineer.[1][2] His father is Italian and his mother is a Brazilian of Portuguese ancestry.[3][4][5] In 1993, as Santoro was studying Journalism at PUC-Rio, he entered the Actor's Workshop of Rede Globo. Santoro went on to play parts in many of Globo's telenovelas, such as Olho no Olho (1993), Pátria Minha (1994), Explode Coração (1995), O Amor Está no Ar (1997), Suave Veneno (1999) and Mulheres Apaixonadas (2003), as well as the miniseries Hilda Furacão (1998), in the role of a priest. Santoro was also the voice actor of the titular character in Stuart Little and its sequel in the Brazilian dubbed copies.

His first major role in a cinema production came in 2001, with Bicho de Sete Cabeças (Brainstorm) by Brazilian director Laís Bodansky. By the end of the film, he received a standing ovation from the audience.[6][7] He also went on to win the festival's best actor trophy. After Bicho, his reputation as an actor had been solidified and he was cast as the male lead in Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun), one of the nominees for best foreign film in the 2002 Golden Globe Awards. He had another performance in the 2003 Hector Babenco film Carandiru, where he played a transexual prisoner known as "Lady Di".

Santoro in Stuyvesant High School, New York City, in 2004.

Canadian director Robert Allan Ackerman signed Santoro for his TV production The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone after being mesmerised by his performance in Bicho de Sete Cabeças. Since Santoro did not have an agent in North America, Ackerman contacted Santoro's father. He spent two months filming in Rome, alongside renowned actors such as Helen Mirren and Anne Bancroft. Soon after he finished shooting for Mrs. Stone, he received an offer from Columbia Pictures for a part in the blockbuster Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. His performance in Charlie's Angels kick-started his career in Hollywood. After Charlie's Angels, he played the character of Karl, the enigmatic chief designer and love interest of Laura Linney's character, in the romantic comedy Love Actually, which also features Colin Firth, Lucia Moniz, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, and Rowan Atkinson.

He also started getting work in the advertising business as he appeared in a commercial campaign with Gisele Bündchen in 2002. He played the male lead in No. 5 The Film, the 3-minute-long commercial for Chanel, directed by Baz Luhrmann alongside Nicole Kidman in 2004.

In 2006, Santoro joined the cast of Lost as survivor of Oceanic Flight 815, Paulo. His first appearance was in episode titled, "Further Instructions". His character was killed off in the episode "Exposé". He also voices his character Paulo in the Portuguese dub for Brazil.

Santoro (right) in a scene from 300 with Gerard Butler, image shows the result of CG and four-and-a-half-hour makeup application process to turn Santoro into Xerxes

Santoro was cast as Persian emperor Xerxes in the film 300, based on the Frank Miller comic of the same name, in 2006. The role had many special requirements, such as intensive workout for the physicality of the role (Santoro had lost 24 pounds to work in a Brazilian miniseries), extensive CG work to portray the 6'2" Santoro as the 7-foot God-King, a four-and-a-half-hour makeup application process and the complete removal of Santoro's body hair first by waxing and then by shaving when that proved too painful.[8] His eyebrows were kept intact, however, covered over with prosthetics and drawn in rather than being shaved.[9] Santoro read the works of Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian, in order to prepare for his part. Regarding Xerxes, he has stated:

He's rich, he's arrogant, he's a very unstable megalomaniac. He just wants to conquer the world. His ambition is unlimited. He wants glory; he wants victory; he wants eternal fame. Underneath all that wanting, though, he's ultimately weak and very insecure.[8]

For his role on 300, Santoro became the first Brazilian actor nominated to the MTV Movie Awards in the category of Best Villain. He did not win however, and the award went to Jack Nicholson for The Departed.

He plays the late footballer Heleno de Freitas in the 2012 film Heleno.[10] Santoro co-starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2013 film The Last Stand. Santoro played Garriga in the Will Smith drama film Focus (2015).

Santoro plays Jesus in the 2016 historical action film Ben-Hur and received personal blessings from Pope Francis for this role.[11]


Santoro at the premiere of What to Expect When You're Expecting, 9 May 2012, New York
Year Film Role Notes
1996 Depois do Escuro[12] Roberto
1998 Como Ser Solteiro Himself
1999 O Trapalhão e a Luz Azul Musketeer
1999 Stuart Little Stuart Little Voice (Brazilian dub)
2001 Bicho de Sete Cabeças Wilson Souza Neto[13]
2001 Abril Despedaçado Tonho
2002 Stuart Little 2 Stuart Little Voice (Brazilian dub)
2003 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone Young Man
2003 Carandiru Lady Di
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Randy Emmers
2003 Love Actually Karl
2004 A Dona da História Luiz Cláudio
2007 300 Xerxes I[14][15]
2007 Não por Acaso Pedro
2008 Live, Love, Laugh, But... Bellboy Short film
2008 Os Desafinados Joaquim
2008 Redbelt Bruno Silva
2008 Leonera Ramiro
2008 Che Raul Castro
2009 I Love You Phillip Morris Jimmy Kemple
2009 Post Grad David Santiago
2010 Manual Para Se Defender de Alienígenas, Zumbis e Ninjas Ninja Short film
2010 There Be Dragons Oriol
2011 Meu País Marcos
2011 Rio Túlio / Soccer Announcer Voice
2012 Hemingway & Gellhorn Zarra
2012 Heleno Heleno de Freitas
2012 What To Expect When You're Expecting Alex
2012 Reis e Ratos Roni Rato
2013 The Last Stand Frank Martinez
2013 Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury Piatã / Júnior
2014 300: Rise of an Empire Xerxes I
2014 Rio 2 Túlio Voice
2014 Rio, I Love You Ele
2015 Focus Garriga
2015 The 33 Laurence Golborne
2016 Jane Got a Gun Fitchum
2016 Ben-Hur Jesus
2016 Dominion Carlos Post-producing
2016 Pelé: Birth of a Legend Brazilian announcer
Year Soap operas Role Note
1993–94 Olho no Olho Pedro Main role
1994–95 Pátria Minha Fernando Main role
1995–96 Explode Coração Sérgio Main role
1996 Sai de Baixo Gama "O Sexo Nosso de Cada Dia" (Season 1, episode 6)
1996 Comédia da Vida Privada Diogo "Mulheres" (Season 2, episode 6)
1998 Hilda Furacão Frei Malthus Main role
1997 O Amor Está no Ar Léo Main role
1999 O Belo e as Feras Henrique "Só o Amor Destrói" (Season 1, episode 1)
1999 Suave Veneno Eliseu Vieira Main role
2001 Os Normais Júlio "Grilar é Normal" (Season 1, episode 19)
2001 Estrela-Guia Carlos Charles Pimenta Main role
2002 Pastores da Noite Padre Gomes Main role
2003 Mulheres Apaixonadas Diogo Ribeiro Alves Main role
2005 Hoje É Dia de Maria Amado Main role
2005 Hoje é Dia de Maria: Segunda Jornada Dom Chico Chicote Main role
2006 Lost Paulo Main role (Season 3)
2009 Som & Fúria Sanjay Main role
2010 Afinal, o Que Querem as Mulheres? Rodrigo Santoro (ficcional version) "Elas?" (Season 1, episode 3)
2010 Papai Noel Existe Robson Luiz Television special
2012 As Brasileiras Carioca "A Indomável do Ceará" (Season 1, episode 9)
2016 Velho Chico Afrânio de Sá Ribeiro Main role
2016 Westworld Hector Escaton Main role

Awards and nominations[edit]

Santoro holding the statue he won at the 44th Festival de Brasília for the movie Meu País, in 2011.
Year Award Category Result
2000 Festival de Brasília Best Actor for Bicho de Sete Cabeças Won
2001 Recife Film Festival Won
Brazil Quality Award Won
Santo Domingo Film Festival Won
SESC Best Film Festival Won
2002 Cinema Brazilian Grand Prix Won
APCA Trophy Won
Cartagena Film Festival Won
Cero Latitud Film Festival Won
2003 Festival de Brasília Best Actor for Carandiru Won
2004 Cannes Film Festival Chopard Trophy of Male Revelation Won
2007 MTV Movie Awards Best Villain for 300 Nominated
2011 Festival de Brasília Best Actor for Meu País Won
Havana Film Festival Best Actor for Heleno Won
2012 Lima Film Festival Won
ALMA Awards Best Actor for What to Expect When You're Expecting Nominated

Other nominations and honors[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^, Think4 -. "Família não se deslumbra com fama internacional de Rodrigo Santoro - Ofuxico". 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Wieselman, Jarett (15 April 2011). "Rodrigo Santoro: I'm half Italian and half Brazilian – I breathe passion". New York Post. 
  5. ^ "Rodrigo Santoro - A Profile of Lost's Rodrigo Santoro". 
  6. ^ BastaClicar – A Web em suas Maos (6 April 2011). "BastaClicar Cinema: Rodrigo Santoro". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Olá,   (22 August 2011). "Rodrigo Santoro faz 36 anos como galã do cinema e da TV; o que você sabe sobre ele? – Famosos e TV – R7". Retrieved 21 May 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Brevet, Brad (6 March 2007). "INTERVIEW: Rodrigo Santoro for '300' , Celebrity Interviews , Entertainment News". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  9. ^ "Rodrigo Santoro Becomes Xerxes of Legend in "300"". Rotten Tomatoes. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (16 September 2011). "Heleno: Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  11. ^ (Press release) (April 18, 2015). "Pope Francis blesses actor playing Jesus in 'Ben-Hur' film". Christian Today. Retrieved March 15, 2016. 
  12. ^ Cinemateca Brasileira Depois do Escuro [em linha]
  13. ^ "O Bicho de 7 Cabeças". Cinemateca Brasileira. 
  14. ^ "2007 MTV Movie Awards - Vote For Best Villain". MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 8 May 2007. 
  15. ^ Carroll, Larry; Adler, Shawn (8 May 2007). "MTV Movie Awards Nominees: Pirates, Spartans — And That Crazy Kazakh". MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2007. 

External links[edit]