Genre entertainment – and by that, I mean the preponderance of sci-fi/comic/fantasy properties we currently enjoy in theaters and TV – is not just a blessing for geeks who enjoy it, but also for previously pigeonholed actors who can transforms themselves and their careers within its loving embrace. Take Rodrigo Santoro. When this guy first starting appearing in the US, he was almost always cast as Shirtless Anonymous Ethnic Stud in films like Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Love Actually. It’s good work if you can get it, I guess, but there’s gotta be life for an actor beyond a Gold’s Gym membership. For Santoro, his escape came in the form of a one-two punch of a brief, much-maligned stint as Paulo AKA Take a Shit Guy on ABC’s Lost (I checked out right around the time his character showed up out of nowhere, but that was actually the least of my problems with the show) and his turn as omnisexual baddie Xerxes in this year’s mega-breakout genre pic 300. Still, the benefits of the latter were limited due to Santoro being hidden under heavy makeup and electronic effects on his voice. So now he’s gotta start making a mark for himself as himself.

He’ll get a chance to do just that as he’s landed a starring role in Black Oasis, which we previously reported on as a Rose McGowan starring vehicle in which she’d be playing a real life B-movie actress of yore who met a grisly end. Santoro would be playing her hubby. It’s a fitting pairing given that McGowan has reaped the career-vitalizing benefits of genre filmmaking about as much as anyone given how she kept her career (and mortgage) alive with a stint on the contemporary witch TV show Charmed before leaping back to the bigscreen in Grindhouse, which – no matter how you slam the film’s non-performance at the box office – did a lot to show off her assets, both physical and emotional. Now, it’s just a question of whether each of them can take their geek notoriety and build it into sustained success in more mainstream entertainment.