Rodrigo Santoro: Smart, centered, sweet and oh so HOT!

Full disclosure: You know that list that you make with your girlfriends of the hottest men alive? Rodrigo Santoro has topped mine forever. When I say forever I mean it. I fell for him in 1993, when he was Pedro in his first telenovela Olho no Olho (The Eye in the Eye). So you can imagine what a big deal it was to interview him this weekend!

I met Santoro in Miami Beach, where he was promoting his new movie What to Expect When You Are Expecting. He plays Jennifer Lopez's husband. Ladies, he is not only gorgeous, but also very well mannered, quite smart and holds on to his Latino values with a fierce pride. He is the guy you can take home to mami and want to take with you everywhere else!


"Everything that I am today I owe to my mom. I owe it to my mom and my dad," he said proudly and with a smile that can make you forget wedding vows. "I learned from my parents to respect other people, and be honest with myself, all the main values that rule my life…They are still together believe it or not in this day and age."

At almost 37 years old, Santoro is quite a long way from his home town of Petropolis. He moved to Rio de Janeiro at 17 to go to college, hoping to become a journalist. On a whim he went with a friend to a casting for a telenovela and, to his own surprise, got hired himself. "I was always crazy about movies, but had never thought about being an actor," he explains.

He was one of Brazil's biggest stars when Hollywood started flirting with him. First was a small role in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, with Helen Mirren. Then came Charlie's Angels, after that, Love Actually and the TV Show Lost (Paulo, 3rd season). Now, he has three big movies coming up. He was a producer and the lead actor in the acclaimed Brazilian film Heleno, about a soccer player. In July, he goes back to the set to play Xerxes again in the second installment of the 300 franchise.

Not too shabby for a guy who wasn't looking to work outside his country. "It was never about ambition… I never have wanted to get bigger. Be more famous", he insisted.  The second film he made in Brazil Bicho de sete cabezas (Animal with Seven Heads) made it to a couple of European movie festivals and offers started pouring. "Life just takes you in different directions and if you embrace it, it can be fun," he added, and he does look like somebody who knows how to have fun!

What he didn't know was that fun also could include raising kids. This is something that What to Expect When You Are Expecting helped him discover. The movie "made me think more about fatherhood, but with a sense of humor. (To be a father is) something that is a lot of work, but it can also be lots of fun", said the Brazilian actor.

Jennifer Lopez said this weekend she and Santoro got in trouble a lot while shooting the movie.  "I was the envy of the cast. I had Rodrigo Santoro to be my husband. We were an affectionate couple and our very English director Kirk (Jones) kept telling us to stop. I think he was uncomfortable with the PDA. He was like, 'I don't think you guys have to hug and kiss that much!' We were like, 'No, we're Latino and very affectionate.'

Girlfriend, good excuse! I don't think that anybody could keep their hands off Santoro. At 6.1', he is one of those magnetic men that manage to fill a room with just standing there. Years of surfing and yoga have left his body taut, his movements contained. But since we are going with the Latino excuse, let me tell you that his English is very good with a hint of his native Portuguese here and there, and he can also speak perfect, and I mean perfect, Spanish. He swears that he could not speak it four years ago. (I don't know if I believe him). In other words, he is the real deal!

The movie is fun, and it will remind you of those moments that made your pregnancy endearing and those that made you swear you would never have another child. The icing on the cake is that -there are three big Latino stars in it- beside Santoro and J.Lo, there is Cameron Diaz. It opens May 18th. And remember that list I was telling you about? He is still indisputably number one!

Photo by Melissa Moseley © 2012, Lionsgate, Inc.