One of South Africa's most in-demand actors for over three decades, polyglot Stelio Savante is a steady product of independent & international theatrically released features & longtime popular casting choice of critically acclaimed directors. His most recent work is as an international journalist & Mossad agent 'Pierre Barthes' opposite Jim Caviezel & Claudia Karvan in the Middle-Eastern political thriller Infidel (2019) by Cyrus Nowrasteh. He is also starring opposite Academy Award Nominee Matt Dillon & Jim Caviezel as Portuguese coffee plantation Mayor Alvares in David L. Cunningham 's Running for Grace (2018) on Netflix. Critic, Sarah D. Bunting, writes "...Stelio is reminiscent of James Gandolfini...I liked a certain gravitas-emblance that I saw in Stelio...".
He will next be seen starring opposite Academy Award Nominee Frank Langella & Bobby Cannavale in the comedy Lapham Rising produced by Academy Award Nominee Kerry Orent . His performance as Hunter Kimbrough in Peter Greenaway's Golden Bear nominated international co production Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015) was noted as memorable by critic, David Noh. As part of the lead cast, Stelio was nominated for a Teddy Award at Berlin film festival.
A Capetonian of Greek, Italian, British, Ashkenazi, and Anatolian descent, he has worked with some of the top directors including J.J. Abrams, Ron Howard, Academy Award winner Juan José Campanella, Academy Award nominee Ivan Reitman, Toronto Film Festival People's Choice Award winner Cyrus Nowrasteh, BAFTA award winner Peter Greenaway, Independent Spirit Award winner & Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee Przemyslaw Reut, Jamie Babbit, Allen Coulter, & Mark Duplass, & Jay Duplass.
After minor speaking roles opposite Academy Award Winner Russell Crowe in Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind (2001) & David Chase's The Sopranos (1999) as Gaetano; his breakthrough lead role came in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) directed by Juan José Campanella. Starring directly opposite Mariska Hargitay, Chris Meloni, Academy Award Nominee Bradley Cooper & Academy Award Nominee Angela Lansbury, as the chilling yet engaging fundamentalist Milan Zergin. Also, a coveted recurring role on Ugly Betty (2006) produced by Academy Award Nominee Salma Hayek & starring directly opposite Vanessa Williams & Rebecca Romijn, becoming South Africa's first male SAG Award Nominee (Ensemble Comedy Performance). Followed by a supporting role opposite Eddie Izzard, Luke Wilson, & Academy Award Nominee Uma Thurman in Twentieth Century Fox's My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006) directed by Ivan Reitman which was nominated for an MTV Movie & TV award. Also an ensemble lead in Sony's sci-fi franchised, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008) produced by Academy Award Nominee David Lancaster, directed by Edward Neumeier and nominated for a Saturn award.
Recent film credits include starring opposite Michael Beach, Raymond J. Barry, & George Blagden as a rogue federal agent in the romantic comedy No Postage Necessary (2017) on Amazon, the first film in history made available for purchase through cryptocurrency. Also starring as a South African drug & arms dealer opposite Alex Russell & Willa Holland in the neo-noir Blood in the Water (2016) on Amazon Prime. He also portrays a middle aged Moses in Dallas Jenkins Biblical series, The Chosen (2019), the highest crowd funded project of all time, downloaded over 190 million times in over 180 countries on The Chosen App and currently showing on Peacock TV.
Additionally a staple of well received recurring & guest star roles including in NBC's My Own Worst Enemy: Conspiracy Theory (2008), in Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass' comedic series Togetherness (2015) for HBO, portraying pioneer David Sarnoff in the Nat-Geo mini-series American Genius (2015), twice for J.J. Abrams' in Undercovers (2010) directly opposite Gugu Mbatha-Raw, & directly opposite Jim Caviezel in Person of Interest (2011). Also starring in NCIS (2003), additionally directly opposite Jimmi Simpson in Breakout Kings (2011), opposite Academy Award Nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste & Ivana Milicevic in Without a Trace (2002), opposite Annabella Sciorra & Chris Noth in Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001), opposite Dylan Sprouse & Cole Sprouse in The Suite Life on Deck (2008), opposite Tony Hale in Arrested Development (2003), & also in All My Children (1970), Guiding Light (1952) & recurring as Dino in Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots (2013) for Own Network. Was lauded by both The Examiner's Diane Zoller Ciatto for his recurring portrayal as Joe 'The Boss' Masseria in AMC's popular series The Making of the Mob (2015). Entertainment Tonight's Nischelle Turner applauded his understatedly powerful turn as Howard Boston opposite Brian White in TV One's Media (2017).
Further film credits include roles as an altruistic scientist opposite César Award Winning Isaach De Bankolé & Juliet Landau in the South African-Dutch-Equatorial Guinean drama Where the Road Runs Out (2014), winner of the Black Reel Award for Outstanding World Cinema. As the head of a sex trafficking ring in Gravitas Venture's Apartment 407 (2016), winner of several major awards at Raindance & San Diego film festivals. Was recognized globally by numerous critics for his role as a ruthless policeman in the South African historical epic A Million Colours (2011). Received outstanding reviews as a tormented hit-man with a conscience in Pronoia & as a rebellious Jewish prisoner in Once We Were Slaves; winning Best Actor at both the SOFIE Awards & the historic American Movie Awards where former winners include Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep, Academy Award Winner Warren Beatty, Academy Award Winner Clint Eastwood, & Academy Award Winner Steven Spielberg . His feature debut was in Sundance Grand Jury Prize Nominee and Independent Spirit Award winner Przemyslaw Reut's thriller, Close Up. Screen Africa magazine wrote "....Savante's ability to transition from rough around the edges, blue collar criminals to highly articulate, ruthless, white collar professionals to charming, quirky, vulnerable & broken characters, makes him a chameleon....". Longtime film reviewer Stephen Aspeling 'Spling' writes "...We're entranced by the mysterious man at the centre of Pronoia, Stelio Savante. His mercurial performance keeps us guessing, unsettled and on edge, waiting for him to explode with answers...".
His two decades of regional and Off Broadway stage credits include favorable reviews from the NY Times. A student of Robert X. Modica, Deborah Kampmeier, William Alderson, Don Bloomfield, & Diane Venora, his training is rooted in theater & improvisation but influenced by the eras of French New Wave & Italian Neo-Realism. Was acknowledged by Academy Award Winner Al Pacino, Academy Award Winner F. Murray Abraham & several NY theater critics for his lead performance in Mortal Coils, directed by the Actor's Studio's Ed Setrakian at the Mint Theater.
Frequently volunteers his time simultaneously performing & producing Sarah Tuft's "110 Stories" to raise money for several charities. Working in several roles on stage directly opposite the following fellow cast: Edie Falco, Academy Award Nominee Robert Forster, James Gandolfini, Cynthia Nixon, Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes, Academy Award Nominee Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo, Jeremy Piven, Academy Award Winner Mira Sorvino, Academy Award Winner Susan Sarandon, Tamara Tunie, Academy Award Nominee Kathleen Turner, John Turturro, & Diane Venora.
A popular voice over artist, he voices the character of Ajax in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (2018). Was inducted into the Alpha Psi Omega honors society for his achievement in American collegiate theater. Served on the actor's panel of the 2014 San Diego film festival with Josh Duhamel, Academy Award Nominee Tom Berenger & Dennis Haysbert, hosted by Variety & film critic Jeffrey Lyons. Is a board member of the River Street Theater Company; alongside Robert Carnegie, Academy Award Nominee Jeff Goldblum , Academy Award Nominee David Mamet, Academy Award Winner Jon Voight & president, William Alderson.