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Old 03-26-07, 07:59 PM   #15
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Re: Rodrigo Santoro in the Media

He's almost there

Everything conspires in the favour of Rodrigo Santoro's international career. Except, maybe, himself

Isabela Boscov

At last, emperor Xerxes, of 300, doesn't have all this respect. Which, naturally, spread out a question: what impact the negative criticisms will have on Rodrigo Santoro's chances in foreign market? If the prior story serves as an example, the answer is simple: the impact might be insignificant -- or inexistent. First because, according to the standings by which the movie industry really guides itself, 300 excedes the most optimistic expectations. Till last Thursday, the movie had already saved 164 million dolars (it was, also, two straight weekends at the top of box-office, a safe sign that the mouth to mouth is in its favour). Subsequently, because, if a mistaken role burried a career, Hollywood would depend on digital actors long since. Just to stay on Latin actors, Antonio Banderas would have vanished after The Mambo Kings; Diego Luna would have gone home with Dirty Dancing - Havana Nights (this one, by the way, an offer that Santoro rejected). Even Gael García Bernal, Gatel, dearest by the English-speaking press, would be paying some penitence for The King, that was overthrown on reviews. About Penélope Cruz, then, it's better not even to talk about. None of them are unemployed -- quite on the contrary.

Never a Brazilian actor was in such a promising situation to make an international career shoot up as Santoro. He has on his behalf a set of objective data -- starting by his good looks, always an open-Sesame. The moment couldn't have been better: Latins suddenly came to light as a creative force in the United States, as oen can confront at their massive presence at the Oscar his year. Santoro has, still, a good reputation, like a promising talent and like a dedicated fellow, who does his best to learn what each role require. He's in a prominent fase, with 300 itself and with the Lost series -- on which his character, Paulo, still can, who knows, get to grow. But other factors, subjective ones, have their weight in the equation.

In a very recent past, Santoro didn't live well with his own celebrity. Soon before he started shooting Brainstorm (Bicho de Sete Cabeças), for example, his girlfriend Luana Piovani was photographed kissing playboy Cristiano Rangel. On location on the streets of São Paulo, the actor heard malicious jokes and, according to people who surrounded him at the time, he left himself get mortally wounded by them. At the time of Carandiru, when images of Santoro characterized as transvestite Lady Di leaked to the press, the repercussion go him by surprise. "I got really scared", he said to VEJA a little before the premiere of 300. Santoro felt so trespassed and insecure hat he had doubts if work, which he liked, compensated the exposure, that he hated. Today, he's still "defensive", as defined by model Ellen Jabour, he started dating almost four years ago. But he doesn't take rumours as personal.

This means, for example, he doesn't ger angr with the news that he would be cut from Lost because he doesn't fraternize with the other actors. "I'm not in touch with all the actors. But I get along well with the ones I know", Rodrigo refutes, who, thanks to football*, got especially close to Henry Ian Cusick, Desmond. Or not freaking out when rumours get spready about the "fortunes" he earns abroad. "I'm starting and I earn by the table of the [Screen Actors] Guild. I earnt by it in Love Actually and I was paied by it also in 300", he says. Not counting extras that usually figure in these contracts. Lost, for example, would pay him between 2634 and 6427 dollars a week. (By the other hand, not much more of what he would get for his works in Brazil.)

In learning how to cope with exposure, the good one as well as the bad one, the actor made progress. What fails him is getting rid, with urgency, of the Brazilian belief that he's in dis*advantage. During his talks with VEJA, Santoro showed good sense of not making to many plans and "playing by ear", as he said; in the works he said no, like Dirty Dancing and + Fast + Furious, he indicates he doesn't pick roles for the money; he insisted he'll never move definitively from the counry and that he'll keep working also in Brazil, what can be very beneficial (Penélope Cruz, recently consecrated by Volver, is a very good example). But he never stopped thinking on the terms of roles that, as he takes it, are the ones within the reach "of a foreigner".

One of the obstacles for the range to unfold to Santoro at once is, of course, the language. Because he learned English as an adult, it gets rusty when he doesn't practice for some time. But, in recent years, he visibly gained in fluency and diction. A systematic plunge in the language could favour him in two ways: first, putting his name in the race for roles that require this domain; second, in raising his level of comfort and also adding to his acting. "The industry is at a step of realizing that casting a foreign actor in a leading role doesn't decreae the appeal of the film with the global spectator", ponders Aleen Keshishian, the agent who represented Santoro these last years and who's a partner of an influencial company of the category, Brillstein-Grey. Aleen goes even more far: "The United States are a country in which the rules were made to be broken -- or could anyone imagine that an Austrian bodybuilder would be the governor of California?", she jokes. What Aleen doesn't say, but every industry observer knows, is that agents and producers have a quota of patience with actors who hesitate before bigger roles and don't correspond to their ambition. In a last analysis, thus, Santoro's international career depends on only one factor, as subjective as it can be: Santoro himself.

* soccer
From: Veja, issue 2001, year 40, #12, Mars 28, 2007
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