The Rise of Wagner Moura, Brazil’s Most Versatile Actor

The Rise of Wagner Moura, Brazil’s Most Versatile Actor

Who is Wagner Moura?

Brazilian actor, moviemaker and director Wagner Manicoba de Moura, was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, on 27 June 1976, meaning that Cancer’s his zodiac sign. He’s appeared in nearly 50 TV series and movies, but is probably still known best for playing the lead character Capitao Nascimento in the 2007 crime action movie “Elite Squad”, written and directed by Jose Padilha, and which also starred Andre Ramiro and Caio Junqueira. Set in Rio de Janeiro in 1997, the film follows Captain Nascimento who wants to retire, but can’t until he finds a replacement – it won 47 of its 64 award nominations.

Wagner’s today highly active in the movie industry, and is currently shooting for the upcoming films “Say Her Name” and “Civil War”.

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Education and early life

Wagner was raised in Rodelas, Brazil alongside his sister Lediane, by their mother Alderiva and father Jose Moura; Jose was in the military, and thus the family moved often. Lediane’s today working as a pediatrician.

Wagner studied at a local high school, and was mostly into arts during his four years there; his best friend began taking acting lessons, and as Wagner had problems fitting in, he chose to accompany his friend and thus fell in love with acting.

He matriculated in 1994, and then enrolled at Federal University of Bahia, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1998.

Roles in movies

Wagner’s debut film role was playing Tercio in the 1998 comedy “Danada de Sabida”, and he was then cast to appear in the 1999 short drama “Radio Gogo”, the 2000 romantic fantasy comedy “Woman on Top”, and the 2001 drama “Abril Despedacado”.

The year 2003 saw him star as Suel in the critically acclaimed crime drama “Carandiru”, written and directed by Hector Babenco, and which also starred Enrique Diaz and Caio Blat. Based on a true story, the film follows Dr. Drauzio Varella as he’s trying to prevent the spread of AIDS in the largest prison in Brazil – Carandiru – and the movie won 16 of its 51 award nominations. Some of Wagner’s notable performances in the remainder of the 2000s were in the 2004 thriller “Nina”, the 2007 comedy “Basic Sanitation, the Movie”, and the 2008 romantic drama “Romance”.

Wagner Moura was all smiles at the Rio de Janeiro premiere of Narcos.

Posted by Narcos on Friday, August 21, 2015

He portrayed Spider in the 2013 science fiction action “Elysium”, which starred Sharlto Copley, Jodie Foster and Matt Damon, and was written and directed by Neill Blomkamp. Set in 2154, the movie follows the poor who are still living on Earth and the wealthy who are living on a space station, and the film won one of its 11 award nominations.

Some of Wagner’s most recent film roles have been in the 2021 animated drama “My Uncle Jose” (voice role), and in 2022 the action thriller “The Gray Man” and the animated adventure comedy “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” (voice role).

Roles in TV series

Wagner’s debut film role was playing Pedrinho in the 2003 comedy “Heavy Load”, and then in 2003 and 2004, he starred as Edu in the comedy “Fragile Sex”, alongside Lazaro Ramos and Lucio Mauro Filho.

In 2005, he portrayed the lead character Gustavo Bogari in all 156 episodes of the romantic drama “Once in a Blue Moon”, which also starred Zeze Polessa and Adriana Esteves, and follows babysitter Heloisa who’s fallen in love with a member of her employer’s family; the series was nominated for 21 awards. The remainder of the decade saw Wagner star as Young Juscelino in all 48 episodes of the biographical romantic mini-series “JK”, and as Olavo in 167 episodes of the 2007 romantic comedy “Tropical Paradise”.

In 2015 and 2016, he played Pablo Escobar, one of the main characters in the critically acclaimed biographical crime drama “Narcos”, which also starred Boyd Holbrook and Pedro Pascal, and was created by Chris Brancato and Carlo Bernard. It follows the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, and those of many others, and the series won eight of its 28 award nominations.

Wagner’s three most recent TV series roles have been in the 2018 episode “Into the Amazon” of the biographical historical documentary “American Experience”, two episodes of the 2021 crime drama “Narcos: Mexico”, and eight episodes of the 2022 crime mystery “Shinning Girls”.

Other credits

Wagner produced the 2013 western movie “Bald Mountain”, the 2019 historical action film “Marighella” and the 2020 biographical historical movie “Sergio”, while he’s also the producer of the upcoming film “Say Her Name”.

He’s received special thanks for several films, including the 2016 short musical comedy “Mardi Gras: Spring Break”, the 2019 historical documentary “The Edge of Democracy” and the action adventure “Bacurau” also in 2019.

Some of Wagner’s most recent talk-show appearances have been in “Journal das 8”, “The Big Picture” and “Made in Hollywood”.

Awards and nominations

Wagner’s won 42 of his 78 award nominations. Some of his wins include nine SESC Film Festival, Brazil Awards, four Cinema Brazil Grand Prizes and six Premio Guarani Awards, nearly all of which are for his performance in the movies “Elite Squad” and “Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within”, and for producing and directing the movie “Marighella”.

Love life and relationships

Wagner avoids speaking about his love life in public, but has still allowed his fans a glimpse into it. He met Brazilian photographer and journalist Sandra Delgado while attending college, but they only began dating a couple of months before they both graduated; Wagner was to move to Rio de Janeiro and invited Sandra to go with him, and she accepted. She gave birth to their son Bem on 9 August 2009, their second son Salvador Moura followed on 20 July 2010, and Sandra gave birth to their third son Jose Moura on 16 June 2012. Salvador and Jose were both featured in their father’s 2020 movie “Sergio”.

The family of five splits their time between Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles, California; Wagner and Sandra haven’t exchanged vows.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Wagner’s fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

He gained 40lbs (18kgs) for his role in the series “Narcos”, and then lost the weight after the shooting had ended, by following a vegan diet.

Wagner’s taking good care of his mental health, and practices transcendental meditation; he’s also physically highly active, as he works out at the gym several times a week, and also practices both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai.

His favorite band’s Legiao Urbana, while he’s a member of the band Sua Mae.

One of Wagner’s favorite actors is Russell Crowe, and some of his favorite films include “Sleeping Dogs”, “Bad Times at the El Royale”, and “True History of the Kelly Gang”.

Height, eyes and wealth

Wagner’s age is 46. He has brown eyes and hair, is 5ft 11ins (1.8m) tall and weighs around 170lbs (76kgs).

Wagner’s net worth’s been estimated at over $10 million, as of May 2023.

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