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Rodrigo Junqueira dos Reis Santoro, pron. IPA: [xo'dɾigu ʒũ'kejɾɐ dus 'xejs sɐ͂'tɔru], (born August 22, 1975) is a Brazilian actor.
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 also did the Brazilian version of the titular character in Stuart Little and its sequel.
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.
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 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 Bundchen in 2002 and in a 2-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".
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 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.
For his role on 300, Santoro became the first Brazilian actor nominated to the MTV Movie Awards, in the category of Best Villain. Santoro though, did not win the category which went to Jack Nicholson from The Departed.
Despite his successful international career, Santoro has said he doesn't want to move to Los Angeles 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.