(Photo : Warner Bros. )
Rodrigo Santoro is reprising his role as Xerxes in the new film "300: Rise of an Empire." The actor was first seen in the original 2006 film "300," which was a box office hit. After playing Xerxes, he worked on a number of films including "The Last Stand," "What to Expect When Your Expecting" and "Rio." After seven years he is returning to the role that brought him into the Hollywood spotlight. While filming the new movie "The 33," the actor recently took a few minutes to talk with Latinos Post about his latest films.
Latinos Post: How did you feel about going back to the character of Xerxes after many years?
Rodrigo Santoro: I questioned myself on how to go back after six years and I haven't done that before. So I didn't know how it was going to be to go back and play the same character in a different scenario. But the interesting thing about this is we get to see Xerxes' back-story. Basically in this film you'll see the evolution of Xerxes as he transforms from a man into the mythological God king that many saw in the first film. I think the way they did the transformation scene; it brings more dimensions to the character. I also think it humanizes the character because in the first movie a lot of people were asking about that nasty tall giant but where is this character coming from. In this movie we have a chance to give the character a sense of humanity and where it comes from and what was going on before. I thought that made it very interesting to approach the same character but sort of to try to make it very fresh. I am also a different person after so many years so he will be a little different but still maintaining the essence of the character, the wardrobe, the visual is the same. So there is something really fresh about him in the second movie.
LP: How was the physical training different for this one than the first one?
RS: It wasn't very different. I think it was a little longer this time. I had a little more time to prepare because I was in Brazil and available and really concentrated on it. So I worked a little longer. It was as hard as the first one but since I went through the process before I knew the diet and the training. I think I trained a little bit harder for this one. Interesting thing is that for Xerxes it's not only the physical training. I do have a five-hour makeup process everyday. Its five hours to put it in and then another hour to remove it. And then the wardrobe, the costumes are very particular, all the piercings, all the appliances so there is a lot going on until I'm actually on set ready to play a scene. So the process before is really long and the longest I've ever had. But it also became a ritual for me in this one. Instead of being five hours in the chair trying to look for what to do, I kind of knew how to use that time in my favor and just tried to concentrate listening to music and reading even Herodotus the historian of the time, just to feed myself with information of the environment and just using the time in a positive way.
LP: What was the experience of working with Noam Murro?
RS: It was interesting because the first [director] was Zack Snyder. Zack wrote and produced the film and was very hands on but on set we had a sort of different vision. Which I thought was interesting because we are doing a different film even though we are keeping the same style, look, and everything. And Noam was very interesting. He had a very precise vision for what he wanted. We discussed a lot because I did the first movie and he really was interested in what the experience was like and how I saw the character. But he had a specific vision and it was great.
LP: What was the experience for you with the new cast?
RS: It was great because we have these new characters. That is the reason we call this film a companion film because the actions happen during the same time. So how do we match the whole story and now we have new characters, how do we make these characters part of this story? How do we introduce them and make them blend in and become part of it. And Eva was great in that and so was Sullivan who plays Themistokles. We talked a little bit when we met in Bulgaria. The relationship between Xerxes and Artemisia is very interesting to me. I think they sort of compliment each other. I think Xerxes is more of the strategist and Artemisia is a force of nature, she a warrior. Xerxes is a guy who is strategizes and keeps doing what his father was doing which was growing his empire. Artemisia is the one who goes to the frontline and in a way they make a strong combination. However, it is a strong love and hate relationship because Artemisia was raised by Xerxes' father and there is a sort of half sister relationship where there is love and hate.
LP: What are you most excited about for the film's release?
RS: First of all the action takes pace in an entirely different battlefield, the sea. It's naval action and its full of amazing visuals. The technology is even more developed now and so when I saw the movie I was really impressed. You're still going to see the surreal graphics, stylized look of the first film but it's a fresh story with new characters. That's going to be exciting because there is an emotional link with the first film. So I think with the audiences that saw the first film they will have an amazing experience. It will compliment the first film but the movie can also be watched by people that did not see the first one because it works by itself.