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Rodrigo Junqueira dos Reis Santoro (born August 22, 1975) is a Brazilianmarker actor.

Life and career

Santoro was born in Petrópolismarker, Rio de Janeiromarker. In 1993, as Santoro was studying Journalism at PUC-Riomarker, 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 would come in 2001, with Bicho de Sete Cabeças (Brainstorm) by Brazilian director Laís Bodansky. At the time, he was under heavy criticism for his role in a Brazilian soap and was even booed at the first showing of the film at the 2000 Brasília Brazilian Cinema Festival. By the end of the film, he received a standing ovation from the audience and critics praised his portrayal of a young man who is sent to a psychiatric clinic by his father after being caught smoking marijuana. 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 the much-praised Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun), one of the nominees for best foreign film in the 2002 Golden Globe Awards. He had another critically acclaimed performance in the 2003 Hector Babenco film Carandiru, where he played a transexual prisoner known as Lady Di.

Canadian director Robert Allan Ackerman signed Santoro for his TV production The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone after being mesmerised by his performance on Bicho de Sete Cabeças. Since Santoro didn't have an agent in North America, Ackerman contacted Santoro's father. He spent two months filming in Romemarker, 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, alongside Colin Firth, 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 also 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 I in the movie 300, based on the Frank Miller comic of the same name, in 2007. 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. His eyebrows were kept intact, however, covered over with prosthetics and drawn in rather than being shaved. Santoro claims to have read the works of Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian, in order to prepare for his part. Regarding Xerxes I, he says:

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 from The Departed.

Despite his successful international career, Santoro has said he doesn't want to move to Los Angelesmarker and would like to stay in Rio. He practices transcendental meditation and sports when time allows, is a fan of The Doors and likes to read William Shakespeare's works. His favorite actors are Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. He is also part of the Oficina of Actors of the Rede Globo. In 2008, he participated in the UK's Soccer Aid which raised money for Unicef charity, where he played alongside legends such as Alan Shearer and Luis Figo at Wembley Stadium.


Year Film Role Notes
2001 Abril Despedaçado Tonho
Bicho de Sete Cabeças Wilson Souza
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Randy Emmers Cameo
Carandiru Lady Di
Love Actually Karl
2004 A Dona da História Luiz Cláudio
2007 300 Xerxes I Nominated: MTV Movie Awards for Best Villain
Não por acaso Pedro
2008 Redbelt Bruno Silva
Os Desafinados Joaquim
Leonera Ramiro
Che Raul Castro
2009 Post Grad David
I Love You Phillip Morris
2010 There Be Dragons Oriol
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Olho no Olho Pedro Brazilian telenovela
1994 Pátria Minha Fernando Brazilian telenovela
1995 Explode Coração Sérgio Brazilian telenovela
1996 Sai de Baixo Gama Cameo
1997 O Amor Está no Ar Léo Brazilian telenovela
1998 Hilda Furacão Frei Malthus Brazilian miniseries
1999 Suave Veneno Eliseu Vieira Brazilian telenovela
2001 Estrela-Guia Carlos Charles Brazilian telenovela
2001 Os Normais Júlio Cameo
2002 Pastores da Noite Padre Gomes Brazilian minseries
2003 Mulheres Apaixonadas Diogo Ribeiro Brazilian telenovela
2003 The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone Young Man
2005 Hoje É Dia de Maria Amado/Dom Chico Chicote Brazilian minseries
2006 Lost Paulo Fernandez 2006-2007 (14 episodes)
2009 Som & Fúria Sanjay Brazilian miniseries

Awards and nominations

Other nominations and honors


  1. BastaClicar Cinema: Rodrigo Santoro
  2. INTERVIEW: Rodrigo Santoro for '300' | Celebrity Interviews | Entertainment News
  3. ROTTEN TOMATOES: Rodrigo Santoro Becomes Xerxes of Legend in "300"

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