Santiago Cabrera is a classically trained Chilean actor, best known for his roles as Isaac Mendez in the television series Heroes, Lancelot in Merlin and as Aramis in the acclaimed BBC series The Musketeers
Santiago co-starred in the critically acclaimed HBO limited series Big Little Lies, Transformers: The Last Knight movie, the CBS summer series Salvation and Disney+ movie Godmothered
He is currently starring in the CBS' series Star Trek: Picard alongside Sir Patrick Stewart.
Santiago Cabrera (born 5th May 1978) is a classically trained Chilean actor, known for his roles as Isaac Mendez in the television series Heroes, Lancelot in Merlin and as Aramis in the BBC TV series The Musketeers
The middle child in the family of a Chilean diplomat and his wife, Santiago was born in Caracas, Venezuela and grew up mainly in London but also in Toronto, Madrid, Romania and Rome. The family returned to Chile when Santiago was 15. This early travel helped him become fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. Santiago excelled at soccer, being made captain of his high school team.
His school drama teacher convinced Santiago to try acting and while in high school he played the role of Mozart in Amadeus. Santiago attended two Chilean colleges on soccer scholarships before deciding to take a year away in Europe, playing semi-pro football in London before focusing on acting and entering the prestigious London Drama Centre in September 2000.
Concurrent with his final year at the Drama Centre, Santiago made his debut with small roles in British television, and on the London stage, playing Montano in Shakespeare's Othello and on BBC's Spooks (MI5)
Santiago's breakthrough role came with the highly successful first season on NBC's ensemble drama series Heroes (2006) playing Isaac Mendez, a heroin-addicted artist able to paint the future. He went on to play the mythical character Lancelot in the popular BBC series Merlin (2009-2011)
Film credits including playing the lead role of Father Vega in the historic epic Christada (For Greater Glory) opposite Andy Garcia and Peter O'Toole, and in Steven Soderbergh's film Che:Part One opposite Benicio del Toro, for which he won critical acclaim for his portrayal of legendary Cuban guerilla commander Camilo Cienfuegos. More than just a pretty face and equally adept at period epics or nuanced character studies, Santiago's formidable talent continues to shine.
In 2016 Santiago worked with Mindy Kaling in an episode of her television comedy The Mindy Project and completed production on the much anticipated limited series for HBO, Big Little Lies , co-starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. Big Little Lies aired on HBO in February 2017 and won numerous awards including Golden Globes, Emmys and Screen Actors Guild award.
Santi also finished filming Transformers: The First Knight, the first feature film in the Transformers series, in 2016 and the Michael Bay directed movie premiered in June 2017.
In February 2017, Santiago signed on to star in Salvation a thriller summer TV series for CBS. He plays a billionaire tech genius, Darius Tanz, who discovers an asteroid is about to his the earth and must find a way to stop it. Season 2 aired in the US on CBS in summer 2018. Seasons 1 and 2 of Salvation are currently available on Netflix internationally and on DVD, and available on CBS All Access in the US.
In March 2019 Santiago signed to appear in StarTrek: Picard series, reuniting with Alex Kurtzman's Secret Hideout and CBS Studios for a co-starring role opposite Sir Patrick Stewart. Santi plays Christobal Rios, a former Star Fleet commander and brilliant pilot, who teams up with Picard and a motley crew of other passengers to go on a mission. Rios often smokes cigars and has a fondness for Pisco brandy. He (like Santi himself) is a skilled soccer player and practices the sport in his free time, keeping a soccer ball on board his starship La Sirena. He is also fond of existentialist philosophy. La Sirena is crewed by several holograms, who all look like Rios.
Star Trek: Picard has been generally very well received by critics and audiences alike. Shooting for Season 2 was due to start in Spring 2020 and was delayed due to Corona Virus restrictions. There had been no official word that shooting for Season 2 had started, but Michelle Hurd posted on Instagram on February 18th 2021 that she was 'Back to work, and it feels so good'. Santiago finally confirmed he was back shooting season 2 with an Instagram post on April 19th 2021.
Season 3 was confirmed in production by Sir Patrick Stewart early September 2021. Santiago posted the trailer for Season 2 on his Instagram account on 9th September 2021.
Season 2 began airing on Paramount+ on 3rd March 2022 and worldwide, including on Amazon Prime UK, on 4th March 2022.
In early 2020 Santiago finished shooting Godmothered movie, also starring Isla Fisher, which aired 4th December 2020 on Disney+ streaming service. Santiago plays Hugh, one of Mackenzie's (Isla Fisher) work colleagues at a TV news station.
In 2008 and 2014 Santiago participated in Soccer Aid, a British charity football match in support of UNICEF, playing for the Rest of the World team. He has said that C.D. Universidad Católica of Santiago is his favorite team, however he remains a fan of Queen's Park Ranger F.C. and was a mascot for the club as a child.
Although he considers Santiago, Chile his hometown, he has made homes in London, Prague and Berlin. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son when not on location filming.
Season 2 of comedy drama series The Flight Attendant, featuring Santiago as Marco, airs on 21st April 2022
Santiago will appear in episode 1, season 2 of the animated Amazon Prime fantasy show Undone as Padre Reyes.
The episode airs on 29th April 2022
January 2021 - Star Trek: Picard premiered on Thursday, March 3, 2022 exclusively for Paramount+ subscribers in the U.S. Following the premiere, new episodes of the 10-episode-long second season drop weekly on Thursdays in US.
Via ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group it aired on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories including UK on 4th March 2022 onwards. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave.
Santiago posted the news on Instagram along with the new trailer. Watch it below and enjoy a glimpse of Santiago reprising his role as Rios.
October 2021 - As announced in the Hollywood Reporter and elsewhere, Santiago will have a recurring role as 'Marco' in Season 2 of HBO Max series The Flight Attendant. The second season is due to air in spring 2022 and filming is underway, taking place in Los Angeles, Berlin and Reykjavik.
September 2021 - Filming on Star Trek: Picard Season 2 has now completed and production moved on to Season 3, confirmation of this was announced by Sir Patrick Stewart during the live streamed Star Trek celebration day on 8th September 2021.
Santiago posted the first trailer for Star Trek: Picard Season 2 on his Instagram account on 9th September 2021. Season 2 will air in February 2022.
See the new trailer below.
Santiago's movie Godmothered aired on Disney+ streaming service on 4th December 2020.
Click below to see an interview with the cast and the trailer (with a brief glimpse of Santiago)
Santiago appears in a featurette on the forthcoming Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Blu-Ray/DVD and limited edition Steelbook entitled “The Motley Crew” . The featurette was exclusively provided to Decider and you can view it here
The DVD/Steelbook set was released on Tuesday, October 6 2020, and features a gag reel, deleted scenes, multiple featurettes and much more.
Santiago on acting
(on training for The Musketeers)
"It's necessary just for the camaraderie of the group much more than anything, because we're much better now at sword-fighting and horse-riding. It was good to get everyone back together, get the group spirit flowing. It really helps."
(on playing Rios and the holograms in Star Trek: Picard)
"The whole thing with the holos was, it couldn’t just be for the sake of it. There had to be substance to it. What hooked me and what I loved about it was the psychology behind a man who is alone and happens to be with these versions of himself. It's better when you can reveal something about a character without saying too much."
(on working with Patrick Stewart)
"Patrick was inspiring, but working with him was also liberating to me. His approach to it is character and story. He doesn’t have a different way of doing it just because it's Star Trek. It's all about embodying character and story. With Rios, it's all about the life he led, and the effects of consequences, and the things that happened, him being alone in the ship, and this world."
Praise for Santiago
"Three days before we started shooting the Salvation pilot, we had a table read of the script where the cast was assembled for the first time. We had met Santiago of course, but he hadn't auditioned for the role of Darius Tanz; we cast him off his body of work up to that point, particularly The Musketeers - after all, Darius is an 'intellectual' swashbuckler. Within seconds, Santiago had the room spellbound. He was everything we hoped for and more.
Santiago effortlessly tackles the role of Darius Tanz - charismatic, genius, romantic lead and savior of the human race - with charm, wit and complexity. His approach is always surprising, never too earnest and completely inspired. Beloved by cast and crew (not to mention the fans). Santiago is a truly special, both as an actor and a human being, and it has been a pleasure to work with him as a creative partner.
After 26 episodes, we've come to expect the kind of magic Santiago conjures up in a scene, but we've never stopped being amazed by it. What can we say - we love the guy!"
Liz Kurger/Craig Shapiro
Santiago is such an exceptional performer and one of those rare talents who can take a page of dialogue and convey its meaning and emotion with a single look.
It was such a privilege to work with him on The Musketeers and seeing him find new and profound depths in the scenes I wrote for him. Aramis' righteous fury when put on trial by Rochefort at the end of Season Two. His quiet devastation at all those lost years when he first catches sight of his son, The Dauphin. His spiritual and moral conflict when wondering whether or not to take Trevillle's ministerial position at the end of Season Three. Santiago is a natural born storyteller.
He is also one of the most generous and gracious souls I've ever met and a phenomenal musician. One of my happiest memories on the show is when a whole bunch of us were sat around at his flat at four in the morning (a little worse for wear!) watching Santi play guitar while Ryan Gage and Thalissa Teixeira gave the most beautiful rendition of Hallelujah. That was some band let me tell you!"
The Musketeers Season 3
"Santiago was absolutely our first choice for Aramis as I'd seen him in Heroes and thought he'd be perfect. He was living in LA at the time we were casting and we persuaded him to do a reading on tape for us. The minute we watched it we knew he was exactly what we wanted and from that moment on, no other actor came anywhere near the role. He simply had everything we needed; physical beauty, charisma, intelligence and agility. But he was also very funny. And that was really important to us as we didn't want Aramis to be just a shallow womaniser or a fool.
He showed up for the fist bootcamp already a proficient horseman but what we didn't know then was just how fit and physically graceful he was (no doubt from his days as a footballer!). He was a natural with the sword fighting and stunt work from day one and he also loved it. He and the other boys bonded immediately and to this day remain incredibly close to each other. He has made the role his own and has bought colour and depth and emotional truth to the part.
Off camera Santi is a thoughtful, surprisingly quiet and modest man, quite chilled, but he is also very witty and sharp. I was sad we never managed to get a scene into The Musketeers that had him playing a guitar as he's very musical. We did manage to get him speaking Spanish at times but he also speaks French, Italian and is learning German. There is very little this talented actor cannot do. I cannot now picture any other actor in the role, nor would I want to - he for me is the definitive Aramis.'
A selection of the best Santiago videos interviews (some in Spanish)
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