Childhood & Early Life
Santelmann was born on August 8, 1980, in Freiburg im Breisgau, a city in Baden-Wurttemberg, a southwestern state in Germany,
When he was a year old, his family shifted to Norway. He was raised in the southern town of Lindesnes, a municipality in Agder County of Norway. At the age of 16, he moved to Oslo, the capital of Norway.
In 2006, at the age of 26, Santelmann graduated from the 'Oslo National Academy of Dramatic Arts,' an institute for students of performing arts, visual arts, and design in Oslo.
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Following his graduation, Santelmann started working with 'Det Norske Teatret' (‘The Norwegian Theater’) in Oslo.
During his theater days, he played a wide variety of characters created by eminent playwrights and authors.
Some of his most prominent characters have been 'Yang Sun' in 'The Good Person of Szechwan' by Bertolt Brecht, 'K' in 'The Castle' by Franz Kafka, 'Torvald Helmer' in 'Nora' by Henrik Ibsen, and 'Nick' in 'The Woods' by 'David Mamet.'
In 2010, he made his debut both on the small and the big screens. He appeared as 'Stian Brandt' in the movie 'Varg Veum - Skriften på veggen,' a Norwegian revenge drama, and as 'Ole Marius Aronsen' in 'Hvaler (Maria),' a Norwegian drama TV series aired on the Norwegian free-to-air TV channel 'TV 2.'
The following year, he appeared as 'Georg' in the TV series' Stikk.'
The 2012 Norwegian suspense thriller ‘Flukt’ (‘Escape’) featured him as 'Arvid.' The same year, he portrayed the real-life character Knut Magne Haugland in the Norwegian historical drama movie 'Kon-Tiki.'
His portrayal of 'Havard' in the 2013 movie 'Jag etter vind’ (‘Chasing the Wind’) earned him a lot of positive reviews and nominations for the 'Amanda Award for Best Supporting Actor' and the 'Amanda Award for Best Newcomer’ at the 'Norwegian International Film Festival.'
He played 'Dirk' (a minor role) in 'Jeg er din’ (‘I Am Yours’), a Norwegian drama released in 2013. This movie was Norway's entry in the category of the 'Best International Feature Film' at the 86th ‘Academy Awards,' held in the year 2014. However, it did not win the award.
In 2014, he appeared as 'Erik Nilsen’ in the first season of the Norwegian crime drama 'Frikjent’ (‘Acquitted’), broadcast on ‘TV 2.’ This TV drama series has been one of Norway's biggest hits.
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He starred as 'Lars Strømme' in the 2014 Norwegian crime-drama series 'Øyevitne’ (‘Eyewitnesses’). He was cast in five episodes of the series. The same year, he appeared as 'Finn' in 'Kraftidioten’ (‘In Order of Disappearance’), a Norwegian black comedy/action drama. This year also witnessed his arrival in Hollywood, as 'Rhesus,' a bloodthirsty warlord, in the big-budget blockbuster 'Hercules,' opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The year 2015 kept him busy. He was handling numerous projects that year. The Norwegian war drama TV series 'Kampen om tungtvannet' saw him as a man in uniform. The series was released in the U.K. as 'The Saboteurs.' It was also called 'The Heavy Water War.' He played a defense personnel named 'Colonel Haugen' in the American spy thriller 'Homeland.'
He appeared as 'Ragnar' in the first three seasons of the historical fiction TV series 'The Last Kingdom.' The series was aired on ‘BBC Two' and ‘BBC America.' The show was also featured on 'Netflix.'
The 2015 action-adventure movie 'Point Break' was his second venture in Hollywood. He played the role of 'Chowder' in it. The film was panned by critics and also failed to do well at the box office.
He was the cinematographer of the short documentary 'Kampen om tungtvannet: Location Rjukan.'
The second season of 'Frikjent’ (‘Acquitted’), released in 2016, had him reprise the role of 'Erik Nilsen.' He appeared in 18 episodes of the show. The same year, he portrayed 'Yann Hall' in the first season of the British–Nordic-noir detective series 'Marcella.'
‘Grenseland,' a Norwegian noir thriller series, featured him in the lead role of 'Nikolai Andreassen.' The series was aired on ‘TV 2’ in 2017. The show is available in English on 'Netflix,' as 'Borderliner.' He was also the assistant producer of the series.
The 2018 movie 'Mordene i Kongo’ (‘The Congo Murders’), earned him his first 'Amanda Award for Best Actor,' in 2019. He had appeared as the lead character, ‘Tjostolv Moland.' The movie was also nominated in the categories of the 'Best Cinematography' and the 'Best Sound Design.'
In 2019, he starred as the father of a character in the Norwegian mystery drama 'Ut og stjæle hester’ (‘Out Stealing Horses’) and as a husband in the short film 'Fun Factory.' He also appeared in the film 'The Love Europe Project.' He was seen as 'Olav den hellige' in the Norwegian science-fiction TV series 'Beforeigners' and as ‘Henrik Kranz’ in the Norwegian dark drama series 'Exit.'
He lent his voice to the character 'Langemann' in the Norwegian animated movie 'Kaptein Sabeltann og den magiske diamant’ (‘Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond’), which was released in 2019.
The year 2020 will see him in the role of 'Crown Prince Olav' in the upcoming historical drama 'Atlantic Crossing.' 'Utmark' is another expected series of his and is in its pre-production phase.