Rodrigo Santoro
Santoro at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Rodrigo Junqueira Reis Santoro

(1975-08-22) 22 August 1975 (age 48)
Alma materPontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (dropped out)
Years active1993–present
(m. 2016)

Rodrigo Junqueira Reis Santoro (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁoˈdɾiɡu ʒũˈkejɾɐ ˈʁejs sɐ̃ˈtɔɾu]; born 22 August 1975) is a Brazilian actor. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Persian King Xerxes in the film 300 (2006) and its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire (2014). Others 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][better source needed][3][better source needed][4][5][6]


Santoro at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, promoting 300: Rise of an Empire

In 1993, while studying Journalism at PUC-Rio, Santoro entered the Actor's Workshop of Rede Globo. He 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 also voiced the titular character in Stuart Little and its sequel Stuart Little 2 in the Brazilian-dubbed versions.

His first major role in a film production came in 2001, with Bicho de Sete Cabeças (Brainstorm) from Brazilian director Laís Bodansky. By the end of the film, he received a standing ovation from the audience.[7][8] 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 transgender prisoner.

Canadian director Robert Allan Ackerman signed Santoro for his TV production The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone after being mesmerized 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 such actors 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. This role kick-started his career in Hollywood. After Charlie's Angels, he played Karl, an enigmatic chief designer and the love interest of Laura Linney's character, in the romantic comedy Love Actually.

Santoro began obtaining 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, a three-minute-long commercial for Chanel, directed by Baz Luhrmann alongside Nicole Kidman in 2004.

In 2006, Santoro joined the season three cast of the ABC television series Lost as Paulo, a survivor of the Oceanic Flight 815 crash. His first appearance was in the episode "Further Instructions", and his character was killed off in the episode "Exposé". He also voiced the character in the Brazilian-dubbed version of the series.

Santoro was cast as Persian emperor Xerxes in Zack Snyder's film 300 (2006), based on the Frank Miller comic of the same name. The job had many special requirements, which included intensive workout for the physicality of the role (Santoro had previously lost 24 pounds (11 kg) to star in a Brazilian miniseries), extensive CGI work to portray the 6'2" Santoro as the seven-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 waxing proved too painful.[9] His eyebrows were kept intact, however, covered over with prosthetics and drawn in rather than being shaved.[10] 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.[9]

After playing the footballer Heleno de Freitas in the 2012 film Heleno,[11] Santoro co-starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2013 film The Last Stand before playing 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 the role.[12]

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. [13]


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[14] 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[15]
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
2006 300 Xerxes I[16][17]
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 (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
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 (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 and Friends: Bonds Nutty Ned
2019 Klaus Jesper Johansson Voice (Brazilian dub)
2020 Project Power Biggie
2021 Save Ralph Rabbit Voice; short film
2021 7 Prisoners Luca


Year TV show Role Note
1993–1994 Olho no Olho Pedro Main role
1994–1995 Pátria Minha Fernando Main role
1995–1996 Explode Coração Sérgio Main role
1996 Sai de Baixo Gama Episode: "Sexo Nosso de Cada Dia"
1996 Comédia da Vida Privada Diogo Episode: "Mulheres"
1998 Hilda Furacão Frei Malthus Main role
1997 O Amor Está no Ar Léo Main role
1999 Belo e as Feras Henrique Episode: "Só o Amor Destrói"
1999 Suave Veneno Eliseu Vieira Main role
2001 Os Normais Júlio Episode: "Grilar é Normal"
2001 Estrela-Guia Carlos Charles Pimenta Main role
2002 Pastores da Noite Padre Gomes Television film
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 (fictional version) Episode: "Elas?"
2010 Papai Noel Existe Robson Luiz Television film
2012 As Brasileiras Carioca Episode: "A Indomável do Ceará"
2016 Velho Chico Afrânio de Sá Ribeiro Guest role, 24 episodes
2016–2022 Westworld Hector Escaton / Ettore Main role (seasons 1–2)
Guest role (seasons 3–4)
2019 Solteira e Boa Rapariga David Main role
2019 Reprisal Joel Kelly Main role
2021 Sessão de Terapia Dr. Davi Greco Main role (season 5)
2022 Sin límites Ferdinand Magellan Main role
2023 Wolf Pack Garrett Briggs Main role
2024 Good Morning, Verônica Jerônimo Main role (season 3)

Music videos

Year Title Artist
2018 "Ocean" Alok, Zeeba and IRO

Awards and nominations

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
2013 Grande Prêmio do Cinema Brasileiro Best Actor for Heleno Nominated
2016 Troféu APCA Best Actor for Velho Chico Nominated
2016 Prêmio Extra de Televisão Best Actor for Velho Chico Nominated
2018 Filming Italy Sardegna Festival movie highlights and series in the year Won
2018 Cinema PE - Audiovisual Festival work set Won

Other nominations and honors


  1. ^ Morre Salvatore Santoro
  2. ^ Rodrigo Santoro Biography
  3. ^ "Rodrigo Santoro Biography - Yahoo! Movies". Archived from the original on 19 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Família não se deslumbra com fama internacional de Rodrigo Santoro - Ofuxico".
  5. ^ "Rodrigo Santoro Interview". NuvoTV. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Rodrigo Santoro - A Profile of Lost's Rodrigo Santoro". Archived from the original on 19 August 2017.
  7. ^ BastaClicar – A Web em suas Maos (6 April 2011). "BastaClicar Cinema: Rodrigo Santoro". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Brevet, Brad (6 March 2007). "INTERVIEW: Rodrigo Santoro for '300', Celebrity Interviews, Entertainment News". Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  10. ^ "Rodrigo Santoro Becomes Xerxes of Legend in "300"". Rotten Tomatoes. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  11. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (16 September 2011). "Heleno: Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  12. ^ (Press release) (18 April 2015). "Pope Francis blesses actor playing Jesus in 'Ben-Hur' film". Christian Today. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Nasce a filha de Rodrigo Santoro e Mel Fronckowiak". 7 June 2017.
  14. ^ Cinemateca Brasileira Depois do Escuro [em linha]
  15. ^ "O Bicho de 7 Cabeças". Cinemateca Brasileira.
  16. ^ "2007 MTV Movie Awards - Vote For Best Villain". MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 8 May 2007.
  17. ^ 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.