Rodrigo Santoro at the What To Expect When You're Expecting UK premiere
It would be easy to sum up sexy Rodrigo Santoro as yet another actor with a pretty face and great body but in the eclectic career the Brazilian/Italian actor has been building with various movie roles over the past few years, Santoro is proving to be the kind of the actor that offers up much more than a cinema heartthrob.
Looking back at his past projects, he played Laura Linneyâs spectacled love interest in Love, Actually, a transsexual in Hector Babencoâs 2003 film, Carandiru, a castaway on the hit series Lost, bared his stellar physique for the role of Xerxes in the 2007 film, 300,and is currently making audiences swoon in the rom-com What To Expect When Youâre Expecting.
While What To Expect has him paired with Jennifer Lopez as a couple preparing for their lives to be shaken up with an impending adoption, Santoro is about to go back under the extensive make-up and grueling fitness regimen to revisit Xerxes for the 300 sequel, 300: Battle of Artemesia.
AfterElton sat down with the charming Santoro during the recent junket for What To Expect to talk the past playing a transsexual, present playing J-Loâs BF and the future in terms of how heâs preparing his already-taut body for another round of Xerxes.
Santoro (far r) in new territory with What To Expect co-stars Chris Rock (l) and Rob Huebel (c)
AfterElton: You said in the press conference that you donât feel like youâre good at comedy yet here you are in a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez!
Rodrigo Santoro: I havenât experienced much. Kirk [Jones, director] is such a sweet man and thatâs what I told him. I said âIâm not funny!â and he said âWhat do you mean?â My background and whole story as an actor has been drama, drama, drama, stage, theater. He said âDonât worryâ and then Jennifer helped me a lot because sheâs a natural. Sheâs so fun and I also didnât have to play jokes or be the comedian. I play the serious guy who is panicking and it was great. I was with those guys in the park â" the Dude Group â" and theyâre all great, talented stand-up comedians (Chris Rock, Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, Amir Talai) and really sharp and I had to keep up with them. The hardest thing was not to laugh because they were saying things that were not in the movie. It was a great exercise and Iâm looking forward to doing more. The first one I did was Love, Actually and this is the second one after many, many years. I really had a great time. Itâs a light, pleasant experience.
AE: Do you think about that in terms of your career? You just did a comedy and then maybe youâll want to do a drama or revisit Xerxes.
RS: I do have an appetite for the non-average Joes. I like the different stuff and something that is not too close to me. I got a chance to experience it and learn about it not only as an actor but as a human being. I think it makes you less prejudiced about things. You really start to understand things and you start to approach things and you say âOh, right, thatâs how it feels to be like that.â It makes me grow, mature and open my eyes and change my point of view of things and I think thatâs a rich experience for me. I do like the different stories, but Iâm not that rational when it comes to my work. I really like to play it by ear and I read stuff and itâs when you connect to it.
Santoro is proud of his role as Jim Carrey's lover, Jimmy, in I Love You, Phillip Morris
AE: Like Phillip Morris, which was so different from what Iâd seen you do before.
RS: There you go! That was great and it was a true story and I read the book when they offered me the part. In the film, you see very little of my character, Jimmy, but in the book thereâs much more and it was very interesting to see the relationship and love between those two men. The relationship was so intense because he was dying and Jim Carreyâs character escaped from prison and came to hold him and it really touched me. It was awesome.