Punta Sayulita is delighted to have staying with us one of Brazil’s most talented and famous actors, Rodrigo Junqueira dos Reis Santoro. Rodrigo has gone on to achieve worldwide fame, playing several larger-than-life characters in a number of feature films. He is best-known for his portrayal of Xerxes, the Persian “God-King” who sent his massive army to conquer Greece in Warner Bros. “300” – a film which broke box office records throughout the world. Rodrigo has also gained international attention for the role of Paulo in ABC’s hit series Lost and received a Best Actor nomination for the film “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” for his role as Alex. He won the Chopard Trophy of Male Revelation at Cannes in 2004.
In his native Brazil, Rodrigo has won over a dozen prestigious awards for various roles. Finally, he portrayed Jesus Christ in the remake of the epic film “Ben-Hur”, now in post-production and scheduled to be released in late February, 2016.
Punta Sayulita is honored to have him as our guest.
Punta Sayulita: Thank you, Rodrigo, for your time and for answering a few questions for us.
One of your most notable roles, so far, was that of Xerxes, the Persian “God-King” for which you were nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain. What did you find most challenging about this part?
Rodrigo Santoro: Well, to be honest, it is hard to pick just one thing that was challenging about playing this part. First, there was the long physical preparation. I had to follow a very strict diet for three months and then very intense training in order to achieve the physicality that was required for this character. Also, the make up process was very, very long, around 5 to 6 hours every day. And, finally thewhole process of working against the green screen was a lesson in itself. It takes a lot of imagination to fill in every element that is not there. So, the level of concentration is very high. But, I must say that when I watched the film for the first time I was completely amazed by the fantastic work they did in post-production.
The final result looked terrific!
Punta Sayulita: In your latest role, you play Jesus in the remake of the movie “Ben Hur” – from “God-King” to “Son of God”. How did it feel to play such an important historical figure?
Rodrigo Santoro: It felt like a gigantic responsibility, but at the same time an immeasurable opportunity.
What a blessing it was to be able to dive into his teachings and try to understand them at a deeper and human level. It was an absolutely unforgettable experience.
Punta Sayulita: During your time in Italy, you were blessed by Pope Francis, a fellow Latin American. Tell us about that.
Rodrigo Santoro: Well, first of all, that was literally a blessing because I didn’t know that I was going to meet him. It was not programmed in advance. I went to see him speak in San Pedro square like millions of other people from all over the world. And it happened! It was a very unique moment in my life. I cannot describe it with words. All I can say is that I will never forget it and will always be grateful for the experience.
Punta Sayulita: Of all the roles you’ve had so far, which one did you find the most challenging and why?
Rodrigo Santoro: You know, that’s a very difficult question to answer because each role had its own story and taught me something different. I believe it is like asking a parent to choose which child is their favorite. A few projects that were very important in my career, for various reasons, were: “Love Actually”, “300”, “CHE”, “I love you, Philip Morris”, “The 33”, “Heleno” and “Ben-Hur”.
Punta Sayulita: You’ve certainly been busy the last while, with parts in over half a dozen feature films as well as an HBO TV series. I can see why you might need a vacation. And you’ve found the perfect place to unwind here in beautiful Sayulita. Is this your first time here? What attracted you to our village?
Rodrigo Santoro: Yes, this is my first time here. I was looking for a place in Mexico to take a little vacation. I wanted a place with a good vibe, warm water and great beaches – one that was surrounded by the beauty of nature. Well, I found it,it is called Sayulita.
Punta Sayulita: Where did you first hear about Punta Sayulita?
Rodrigo Santoro: A good friend of mine, who happens to be Mexican, told me I could find a little hidden paradise here called Punta Sayulita.
Punta Sayulita: Why did you choose to spend your vacation here?
Rodrigo Santoro: When I researched Punta Sayulita on the Internet, I quickly realized my friend was right. Punta Sayulita was definitely a place I needed to visit. I learned I could surf and practice other water sports like stand-up paddle, kayak, swimming… And, it had the two things I love the most – the jungle and the ocean. Right then I bought my ticket.
Punta Sayulita: And, how have you been spending your time off?
Rodrigo Santoro: I have been enjoying every little corner of this place. I have found little hidden beaches. I have been practicing water sports every day. I have been forgetting about the time while enjoying the warm water and the sun. I have been watching stunning sunsets and enjoying great food at the little restaurants in town.
Punta Sayulita: So, how do we rate compared to other tropical vacation destinations?
Rodrigo Santoro: What makes Punta Sayulita unique is that in a few days you start to feel as if you are at home. The accommodations are just wonderful – you have everything you need and everything is tastefully done. The whole setup here provides safety and you feel free to explore and enjoy everything it has to offer. I feel very lucky to have discovered Punta Sayulita. And I look forward to coming back soon to spend even more time in this little paradise.
Punta Sayulita: Thank you, Rodrigo, for sharing your thoughts with us. It’s been a pleasure talking with you.