While studying advertising at college in Rio de Janeiro, Santoro left school to act in Brazilian soap operas. As his popularity grew he moved onto feature films winning numerous awards and was touted as "the Brazilian Tom Cruise." He won the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize (the equivalent of an Oscar) for his powerful performance as an institutionalized teen in Bicho de Sete Cabeças (Brainstorm) and earned kudos as a young man forced to avenge his brother's murder in Behind the Sun. Santoro's combined sex appeal and solid acting chops had Hollywood calling, and he began appearing in small parts on the big screen. Following the made-for-TV movie The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone with Helen Mirren, he landed parts as an extreme-sports-loving villain in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and was Laura Linney's crush in Love Actually. But he remained best known to U.S. audiences as the mystery man who romanced Nicole Kidman in an arty Chanel ad. Although his Lost character Paulo didn't even survive one season, Rodrigo bounced back as a baddie in the graphic novel-turned-blockbuster 300.