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When rumors of the sequel to “Love Happens” began to materialize, fans’ hearts stopped. It was finally time to revisit each of the characters that made the film one of the most watched romantic comedies ever.

In fact, most of us expected the film’s creators to amend one of the film’s saddest endings: the one that ends with a “Merry Christmas” sounding like “see you forever” and that destroyed all hopes of seeing a couple formed by Laura Linney and Rodrigo Santoro, in this case Sarah and Karl. Unfortunately, those who were waiting for him had a huge disappointment.

The Brazilian heartthrob went on with his life and it can’t be said that things went very badly. The character’s success opened the door to Hollywood and the great American productions. The latest proof: the starring role in the new Spanish-produced Amazon original, “Sem Limits”.

In the adventure drama, Santoro will be one of the most famous Portuguese in history, the maritime explorer Fernão de Magalhães. Next to him will be Álvaro Morte, the Professor of “La Casa de Papel”, in the role of Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano.

Over six episodes, the story will delve into the first circumnavigation, which took place five centuries ago. “Leaded by the Portuguese Fernão de Magalhães, 239 sailors left Sanlúcar de Barrameda on August 20, 1519. Three years later, only 18 hungry and weakened sailors returned on the only ship that survived the voyage, led by the Spanish sailor Juan Sebastián Elcano” , reveals the synopsis of “Without Limits”.

The director was the British Simon West, known for having directed films such as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”, “Con Air: Flying Fortress”, “The General’s Daughter” and “The Expendables 2”. “Without Limits” arrives on the platform this Thursday, June 23 – read the NiT interview with the actor about the film.

Maritime adventures aside, Santoro has a lot to be thankful for for the small role that fell into his lap in 2003 and catapulted him to stardom. Pinta de galã already had, since he debuted in the soap opera “Pátria Minha” at just 20 years old. From the roles of a friar to the iconic role of D’artagnan, he made his film debut in “Bicho de Sete Cabeças”.

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Then came the biggest challenges with “Abril Despedaçado” and the transformation into a transvestite in “Carandiru”. In the meantime, the first cap that fell short of expectations happened, in “Charlie’s Angels – Maximum Power”: he was able to share the stage with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, but he didn’t even have the right to speak.

Certainly something did well, because the invitations began to appear and it even shined in a Chanel campaign alongside Nicole Kidman. Then came the proposal that would change everything.

Duncan Kenworthy, producer with a magic finger — after all, he was responsible for “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill”, before “Love Happens” — discovered Santoro’s talent at the Venice Film Festival, where his ” Broken April”. “I was very impressed”, revealed the producer in 2003.

“The nationality of the actor or character was not important. We wanted him to be a foreigner, but if you look back, at no point is reference made to his country of origin,” Kenworthy explained.

“Love Happens” tells several stories in a few scenes and the actor, who wouldn’t have much to decorate, bet on another way to get involved in the narrative. “I had to imagine the life story [do Karl]of your past, of the meeting [com Sarah]. I like this work of introspection, working with facial and body expression beyond just talking.”

By that time, the film had not yet premiered and gained supporters all over the world. There was talk, however, of the possibility of Santoro doing well abroad. “I read a lot of arguments, but I still don’t have any invitations.” They would arrive.

The romantic comedy hasn’t been critically acclaimed, but when it grabs the audience, it doesn’t need to be. It was a hit in theaters and year after year cements its position as one of the must-have films of the holiday season. For Santoro it was also the opportunity of a lifetime to work in a cast with Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Kinghtley, Laura Linney, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson and Bill Nighy.

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The doors opened and he would end up conquering his space in several international productions. He was the villain Xerxes in “300”, was Raul Castro in “Che”, opposite Jim Carrey in “I Love you Phillip Morris”, with Jennifer Lopez in “What’s Expected While You’re Waiting” and with Natalie Portman in “Jane’s Got a Gun”. More: he had the right to a character of his own in “Perdidos” and in one of the biggest productions of HBO’s recent years, “Westworld”, embodies Hector, a recurring character.

“Love Happens” is always in his head, he confessed in 2013, on the tenth anniversary of the film. “Whenever I enter an airport, I remember. Ever. Whenever I’m in one, I watch people. I’m interested in trying to understand what they’re going through and it’s the film’s fault.”

Santoro played the role of Karl, Sarah’s (Laura Linney) co-worker, with whom he has a brief flirt that never materializes. Of all the stories told in the film, it’s the only one that ends without a minimally satisfying conclusion — and it remains one of the ones that most frustrates fans.

Sarah lived between work and taking care of her brother who was hospitalized and who regularly interrupted her plans with constant phone calls. It is in this turmoil that she meets Karl, with whom she falls in love, but at the moment of truth, a call from her brother has ruined everything. The story ends with a dry “Merry Christmas” between the two.

“Sometimes life doesn’t let relationships end,” Linney explained. “That’s the tension of the story (…) interestingly, over the years, many people have come to me saying ‘this is my story’.”

When Santoro read the script, he tried to sway Richard Curtis, the director and screenwriter. “’We are the unhappy ending,’ I told him. He replied that everything was fine. That that was the point, because ‘that’s how life works, it’s not always happy’.

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Few knew then that, four years after this interview, the story of Karl and Sarah would be entitled to a conclusion. In a campaign for Red Nose Day — an annual fundraiser aimed at fighting child poverty and hunger — a new script was written that revisits the characters in the film, ten years after the end of the story.

In just over 15 minutes, the main characters are back to being their own. There is no sign of Karl and Sarah. Or rather, Sarah returns, but only in the North American version. And everyone who hoped to see Santoro again ended up disappointed.

Sarah is back in the office, and when the phone rings, she answers it. On the other side is not her brother, but her current husband, actor Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy”).

A short time later, Santoro explained everything and took the blame. “Richard invited me to participate, but I was in Cuba and couldn’t go. I felt bad about it, it broke my heart,” he said. However, it does not rule out the possibility of returning if a sequel is produced, beyond the short film.

“I think they should make a sequel. It would be a movie I would like to make,” she confesses. “It continues to be the character I get the most feedback on. I was lucky to have been a part of ‘Love Happens’” Love Happens” shot Rodrigo Santoro to fame — but it didn’t give him a happy ending.”

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