By: Kellvin ChavezSource: Latino Review
For those of you who don't know Rodrigo Santoro is an already accomplished actor having won acclaimed for his roles in the Brazilian films. After working for many years on Brazilian television productions, he was offered roles in “Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle,” the TV movie “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone” and “Love Actually.” He will join the cast of the hit ABC show “Lost” for the series' 3rd season in which he plays the role of Paulo.In the upcoming film “300” Santoro plays King Xerxes leader of the Persian army and I had the chance a few weeks to sit down with him and talk about his character in the film and of course trying to get some info on his role on “Lost”.
Here is what Santoro had to say:
Was that your regular wardrobe? Did they have to clip on all those rings to you and necklaces and all of that to you?
Santoro: Oh, yeah, a good four hours of makeup a day and the costume.
Now did you know about Frank Miller before doing this?
Santoro: Oh, yeah, yeah. I was aware. I didn't know that '300' was going to be a film, but actually since 'Sin City' there is this friend of mine who is very into the comic book world and he had showed me '300.' I looked at it and I said, 'Well, that could be a great film.' And then after months, two years I think, I heard that '300' was going to be a film through one of the producers of the film, Gianni Nunarri. He was actually the one who brought up my name for this and asked me to audition for this role.
Looking back at some of the things you did, I then heard that you were hesitant about shaving your eyebrows for this?
Santoro: Well, I had my whole body shaved, man. We started waxing and I had a lot of respect for women after that. It just hurts so much and the next day I asked for a razor and we were shaving my whole body. We actually tried some prosthetics on first and we tried to change my forehead or something like that, and then Zack [Snyder] just said, 'No, no, no. I just want Rodrigo's, the way it is.' The eyebrows, it was actually the makeup artist's idea to cover them up with prosthetics. There was no need to really razor them. After doing my whole body though it wasn't like I was going to be scared of doing these.
Did you model any of your performance after panels from the graphic novel?
Santoro: What did you mean?
Did you strike any poses that come from the book?
Santoro: Yeah. The inspiration was basically the graphic novel. I wanted to be very faithful to what was there because I do believe that Frank Miller's vision is pretty clear for the character and I do see a soul in the character there. It's not just a drawing. I thought, 'Wow, this exists.' So I just tried to be faithful to that and tried to bring it to life and adding what I had to add to the character, but also respecting his vision.
You recently joined the cast of 'Lost.' What was that experience been like?
Santoro: It's great, man. I live in Hawaii. 'Lost' is another unique experience just like this one. You literally don't know what's going on and so there is no control and it's actually hard to build a character like that. So it basically puts the actor in a position where you just have to live in the moment once you get the script which is not long before you start shooting. You just have to go from there and be in the moment. It's kind of this lost feeling. You feel a little like, 'What's going on?' You don't know. I think that's the beauty of this experience.
Are you going to get a flashback?
Santoro: I am, yes.
Have you shot it yet?
Santoro: I can't say a word, man. If I say a word I would have to kill you.
Were you looking to do TV work or did they come to you for 'Lost?'
Santoro: Well, I met a producer on the show for 'Alias' two years ago. I was shooting something in Brazil though and I couldn't do it. He offered me a guest star or something on 'Alias,' and he brought up my name when he joined the 'Lost' show. Then I had two meetings with everyone like J.J. Abrams and Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, all of those guys and we went from there.
What can you say about your character on the show?
Santoro: I can't say anything. His name is Paulo. That's all I can say, and really I don't know a lot about my character at all.
How long have you been filming for?
Santoro: Since last August.
Is it weird to be so far ahead in the filming for you?
Santoro: Yeah, well, I'm used to it. I've worked like that before. That's just the way it is and it's not really that weird. I kind of am used to it.
Is that really as weird as working on a green stage and hoping that it's going to look cool?
Santoro: Well, yeah, it was blue, very blue. But there was part of this experience here, that we were working with blue screen and you don't have anything around you. We did have the graphic novel so that we could know what kind of final result we were going to see, but once you're there working it's all about imagination. It's all about the ability you have to live in the world of imagination and make it up especially a character like Xerxes which is sort of this self-proclaimed God who believes that he's above everything and everyone on the planet earth. So it's a little bit of a trip in my opinion. So it was all about imagination, what he creates, his perception of reality – it's just his. It's his world. Actually, the makeup process that was four and a half hours was a great time for me to get into character because he was so much about himself. I just took that time for myself to get into that character and just be a megalomaniac giant and believing that he was just beyond anything.
How tall is the character in 300 supposed to be?
Santoro: Ten feet. Ten feet tall with a voice of a deep thunder and all of that.
And how tall are you?
Santoro: I'm 6'2".
Were you hesitant at all when you got the offer with very few sets and all this blue screen?
Santoro: You mean to play this character? Not really. I was actually salivating when I saw a picture of it, what was drawn. I thought, 'Well, this is amazing. This is a great opportunity to play something completely different from everything that I've done before.' The process is completely different. Everything was new for me, but there is always hesitation. Not a hesitation, but some concerns. It's a risky character. It's a tricky, very tricky one. To find the right measure and to fit with all the performances, it's this sort of operatic stylized comic book. So it was tricky. I just made a choice and had to go for it.
What can you tell me about Zack (Snyder) that we wouldn't get in the press notes?
Santoro: [Laughs] Well, I'm going to tell you my point of view in how he helped me. I don’t think that's in the press kit. First, I think you've interviewed him before and so you know what kind of vibe that he has. We were shooting overnight and it was a long shoot and he would be from the very beginning to the very last minute with the same great energy which was very impressive. Like, at five thirty in the morning, the crew is beat and he was there like, 'Lets go, guys.' He was always up there. He was a true warrior. He was a true Spartan. He just wanted to win this battle and he would've given anything and was just so willing to give and was very open at the time same time about listening to what everyone had to say. He would come to me and say, 'How do you feel about it? How do you think Xerxes would say this or would do that?' So he was open, but on the other hand he knew exactly what he wanted for the film. There was no trying this or that. He knew it. He already had everything in mind. He already knew what he was doing. So he was very precise and secure and confident, but on the other hand he was open as well. So it was a perfect combination. It couldn't have been better. I had a very good relationship with him and I give a lot of credit to Zack Snyder.
How much physical training did you do before getting in front of the camera?
Santoro: My story is a little different than the Spartans because they had to go training for fighting and since I'm up there on my throne I didn't have to do that. But my interesting little story is that when I auditioned for this role I was shooting something in Brazil that I had to lose around thirty five to forty pounds for. I was like skin and bones, and when I put myself on tape, Zack and the producers saw it and they said that they liked it, but that I was too skinny. I said, 'No. This is a character that I'm playing here. How many months do I have?' They said, 'Four or five months, then we're going to start shooting.' Then there was my physical training. I had to put all the weight back on and also build up, not to be so muscled up, but just to be a giant. They wanted me to be this towering figure. So it was a lot of strict dieting and a lot of weights and sweat. A lot of work.
Did you do all of the training in Brazil?
Santoro: Yeah, I did it mostly in Brazil and then I came to Montreal, but that was two weeks before I started shooting. I had a personal trainer there in Brazil that helped me a lot and it was basically just discipline. That's what it is. You've got to be on it. There is no chocolate. Forget about that. It's just eating the right stuff and working out and working out. It was great, and it was very healthy. It was also very strict though too.
know you are really well known in Brazil. But with this and 'Lost,' are you prepared for Hollywood?
Santoro: [Laughs] Am I prepared? I don't know, man. I always think about what I'm doing right now. So if I start think about everything it's just too overwhelming. So I never make a choice thinking about the results of that. I'm never going to pick a role or a project thinking about what this could bring me or something like that because you've got no control over that or with anything actually. So I just do the work and get the material and try to make my choices based on my instinct, what I feel and the rest of it is really like a consequence that you have to deal. So I don't know. I'm not thinking about that. What I'm thinking about is that I hope this work right now, this movie, I hope that people are going to watch it and most of all I really hope that it's not just people who are into graphic novels. I think that it's a very original and interesting and unique piece and could be a great ride for audiences out there.
How much did you know about the story or about Xerxes?
Santoro: I had heard it before when I was in school. I always loved history, and so it was something that I was aware of, but I went and started researching in the Greek Historian books by Herodotus which was the best source that I could find. There was a lot there actually about the battle and there was a lot about Xerxes. He's very controversial, Xerxes, according to Herodotus. There was a piece of information there that I found very interesting and it actually helped me with the character. He said that Darius, Xerxes' father, had two more sons and the power could've gone to any of them. For some reason it went to Xerxes. He doesn't explain it and thinks that it's very controversial. There is a sculpture of Xerxes in front of his father's sculpture with an inscription saying that he was his father's choice. So he wanted to make sure that everyone knew he was meant to be the king. That kind of made me think that underneath he was very insecure. He was very scared of everything and he helped me because in Frank Miller's vision he's this God-King, but I think that he put out this figure in order to protect a lot of insecurity and a lot of stuff underneath it. Are you already thinking about a project for the hiatus?
Santoro: Well, there are projects in Brazil. There are projects here in the states that I'm considering. I just don't know exactly what that's going to be and I'm trying to find that one thing that I think is going to be right and interesting to do. It's very difficult after doing something like this which I found to be very interesting. It's difficult to find another part like that. So I'm just looking and trying to see what could be right.
So you're saying that your character in Lost is going to continue into the following season?
Santoro: Who knows. I'm not saying anything. I'm telling you. If we knew more we couldn't say because that's part of the whole mystery of the show, but we do not know a lot of the information at all. We have very little. Any character or any actor on the show will tell you the same. We have very little information and that's just part of the experience.
Were you watching the show before you got cast?
Santoro: Yeah. I was working in Brazil on and off, and so I wasn't following anything, but I had heard, man. 'Lost,' even in Brazil is huge. Everyone is aware all over the world and so I watched a couple of episodes. I wasn't able to follow it, but when I got the role they sent season one and season two and I watched everything in a row like a long feature film. It was really, really cool. I didn't have to wait for next Wednesday. It was just right there.
Thursday, 27 Jul 2006
It looks like Sawyer and Jack have some new competition for the coveted “Hottest on the Island” award.
Thursday, 27 Jul 2006
It was announced earlier this week that Rodrigo Santoro will be joining the cast of Lost. Santoro, who has often been described as the Brazilian Tom Cruise (although we hope he isn’t that crazy) is best known in the states for his small, but important role as Laura Linney’s love interest in Love Actually. But some may also recognize Rodrigo from the the Baz Luhrman/Nicole Kidman, Chanel No. 5 commercials, or from Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
It looks like Sawyer and Jack have some new competition for the coveted “Hottest on the Island” award.