Rodrigo Santoro

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Rodrigo Santoro
Rodrigo Santoro by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Santoro at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Rodrigo Junqueira Reis Santoro

(1975-08-22) 22 August 1975 (age 46)
Years active1993–present
Partner(s) Mel Fronckowiak (2013–present)

Rodrigo Junqueira Reis Santoro (Portuguese pronunciation:  [ʁoˈdɾiɡu ʒũ'kejɾɐ 'hejs sɐ̃ˈtɔɾu]; born 22 August 1975) is a Brazilian actor. He's most known for his portrayal of Persian King Xerxes in the movie 300 (2006) and its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). Other famous movies include Brainstorm (2001), Carandiru (2003), Love Actually (2003), Che (2008), I Love You Phillip Morris (2009), and Rio (2011). He also appeared on the television series Lost , portraying the character Paulo, and on HBO's Westworld (2016–2020) as Hector Escaton.


Early life

Santoro was born in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro state, to Francesco Santoro, an Italian engineer with roots in Paola, Province of Cosenza, Calabria, [1] and Maria José Junqueira Reis, a Brazilian artist of Portuguese ancestry. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Santoro at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, promoting 300: Rise of an Empire. Rodrigo Santoro by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Santoro at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, promoting 300: Rise of an Empire.

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. [8] [9] 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. In the 2003 Hector Babenco film Carandiru he played Lady Di, a transsexual prisoner.

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 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. [10] His eyebrows were kept intact, however, covered over with prosthetics and drawn in rather than being shaved. [11] 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. [10]

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 played the late footballer Heleno de Freitas in the 2012 film Heleno. [12] 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 played Jesus in the 2016 historical action film Ben-Hur and received personal blessings from Pope Francis for this role. [13]

Personal life

Santoro has been in a relationship with Brazilian actress Mel Fronckowiak since 2013. On 22 May 2017, they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Nina. [14]


Santoro at the premiere of What to Expect When You're Expecting, 9 May 2012, New York Rodrigo Santoro WE 2012 Shankbone 8.JPG
Santoro at the premiere of What to Expect When You're Expecting , 9 May 2012, New York


1996 Depois do Escuro [15] Roberto
1998Como Ser SolteiroHimself
1999O Trapalhão e a Luz AzulMusketeer
1999 Stuart Little Stuart Little Voice (Brazilian dub)
2001 Bicho de Sete Cabeças Wilson Souza Neto [16]
2001 Abril Despedaçado Tonho
2002 Stuart Little 2 Stuart LittleVoice (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
2004A Dona da HistóriaLuiz Cláudio
2006 300 Xerxes I [17] [18]
2007Não por AcasoPedro
2008Live, Love, Laugh, But...BellboyShort film
2008Os DesafinadosJoaquim
2008 Redbelt Bruno Silva
2008 Che Raul Castro
2009 I Love You Phillip Morris Jimmy Kemple
2009 Post Grad David Santiago
2010Manual Para Se Defender de Alienígenas, Zumbis e NinjasNinjaShort film
2010 There Be Dragons Oriol
2011 Meu País Marcos
2011 Rio Túlio / Soccer AnnouncerVoice (also in the Brazilian dub)
2012 Hemingway & Gellhorn Paco Zarra
2012 Heleno Heleno de Freitas
2012 What To Expect When You're Expecting Alex Castillo
2012Reis e RatosRoni 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 TúlioVoice (also in the Brazilian dub)
2014 Rio, I Love You Ele
2015 Focus Garriga
2015 The 33 Laurence Golborne
2016 Jane Got a Gun Fitchum
2016 Ben-Hur Jesus Christ
2016 Dominion Carlos
2016 Pelé: Birth of a Legend Brazilian announcer
2018 A Translator (Un Traductor)Malin
2019 Monica's Gang: Bonds Nutty Ned
2019 Klaus Jesper JohanssonVoice (Brazilian dub)
2020 Project Power Biggie
2021 Save Ralph RabbitVoice; short film


YearTV showRoleNote
1993–1994 Olho no Olho PedroMain role
1994–1995 Pátria Minha FernandoMain role
1995–1996 Explode Coração SérgioMain role
1996 Sai de Baixo GamaEpisode: "Sexo Nosso de Cada Dia"
1996Comédia da Vida PrivadaDiogoEpisode: "Mulheres"
1998 Hilda Furacão Frei MalthusMain role
1997 O Amor Está no Ar LéoMain role
1999Belo e as FerasHenriqueEpisode: "Só o Amor Destrói"
1999 Suave Veneno Eliseu VieiraMain role
2001 Os Normais JúlioEpisode: "Grilar é Normal"
2001Estrela-GuiaCarlos Charles PimentaMain role
2002Pastores da NoitePadre GomesTelevision film
2003 Mulheres Apaixonadas Diogo Ribeiro AlvesMain role
2005 Hoje É Dia de Maria AmadoMain role
2005Hoje é Dia de Maria: Segunda JornadaDom Chico ChicoteMain role
2006 Lost Paulo Main role (season 3)
2009Som & FúriaSanjayMain role
2010Afinal, o Que Querem as Mulheres?Rodrigo Santoro (fictional version)Episode: "Elas?"
2010Papai Noel ExisteRobson LuizTelevision film
2012 As Brasileiras CariocaEpisode: "A Indomável do Ceará"
2016 Velho Chico Afrânio de Sá RibeiroGuest role, 24 episodes
2016–2020 Westworld Hector EscatonMain role (seasons 1–2)
Guest role (season 3)
2019Solteira e Boa RaparigaDavidMain role
2019 Reprisal Joel KellyMain role
2021 Sessão de Terapia Dr. Davi GrecoMain role (season 5)

Music videos

2018"Ocean" Alok, Zeeba and IRO

Awards and nominations

Santoro holding the statue he won at the 44th Festival de Brasilia for the movie Meu Pais, in 2011. Rodrigo Santoro 2011.jpg
Santoro holding the statue he won at the 44th Festival de Brasília for the movie Meu País, in 2011.
2000 Festival de Brasília Best Actor for Bicho de Sete CabeçasWon
2001Recife Film FestivalWon
Brazil Quality AwardWon
Santo Domingo Film FestivalWon
SESC Best Film FestivalWon
2002Cinema Brazilian Grand PrixWon
APCA Trophy Won
Cartagena Film Festival Won
Cero Latitud Film FestivalWon
2003 Festival de Brasília Best Actor for CarandiruWon
2004 Cannes Film Festival Chopard Trophy of Male RevelationWon
2007 MTV Movie Awards Best Villain for 300Nominated
2011 Festival de Brasília Best Actor for Meu PaísWon
Havana Film Festival Best Actor for HelenoWon
2012Lima Film FestivalWon
ALMA Awards Best Actor for What to Expect When You're ExpectingNominated
2013Grande Prêmio do Cinema BrasileiroBest Actor for Heleno Nominated
2016Troféu APCABest Actor for Velho Chico Nominated
2016Prêmio Extra de TelevisãoBest Actor for Velho Chico Nominated
2018Filming Italy Sardegna Festivalmovie highlights and series in the yearWon
2018 Cinema PE - Audiovisual Festival work setWon

Other nominations and honors

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