Monday, October 8, 2012

Who Are Those Guys? ~ Wes Bentley

Wesley Cook Bentley was born on September 4, 1978, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to David and Cherie Bentley, two Methodist ministers.

Wes attended Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood, Arkansas, where he was in the drama club. Interest in acting came from Improv Comedy. He, his brother Patrick, his best friend Damien Bunting and other close friend Josh Cowdery developed an Improv group called B(3) + C. They regularly dominated competitions in Arkansas. He then placed First in the state of Arkansas in solo acting in 1996, his senior year of high school, Second in Duet, and also regularly won for Poetry and Prose Readings. Wes appeared on-stage quite a bit in Little Rock. At The Weekend Theater, Wes played the straight son of the gay couple in a production of “La Cage aux Folles”. At Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, Wes’ plays included “Oliver”. At his mother’s urging, Wes attended Juilliard School in New York after high school graduation. He was there only a short time but appeared in stage work like “Henry IV, Part 1” and “The Weavers”. Wes then worked at Blockbuster and was a waiter at TGI Friday’s on Long Island. He also states that his most prideful venture in life was starting a soccer team from scratch at his high school and subsequently putting together a full Conference, one of Arkansas’s first. He had no real experience in soccer before doing this.

Wes has starred in several films, including the Oscar-winning film “American Beauty” (1999), “The Four Feathers” (2002), “P2” (2007), and “Ghost Rider” (2007). He starred in the thriller “Dolan’s Cadillac” (2009),based on the short story by Stephen King, and “There Be Dragons” (2010) by director Roland Joffé. He also starred in his only Euro-western so far “The Claim” (1999).

Wes is one of the main subjects in the documentary “My Big Break” (2009), directed by Tony Zierra, which follows Bentley and three of his former roommates, Chad Lindberg, Brad Rowe and Greg Fawcett, as they pursue their dream to become successful actors in Hollywood.

In a New York Times article on February 8, 2010, he described his descent into drug addiction that began almost immediately after his success in “American Beauty”. He said he hid his addiction from his wife; they separated in 2006, and he moved to an apartment where he began doing drugs full-time. During this time he worked sporadically, just enough to pay bills and buy drugs, and in 2008 was arrested and ordered into counseling and 12-step programs. He relapsed, however, and “continued using heroin until he was broke”.

In July 2009, he said, he confessed to a friend, “I’m a drug addict, and an alcoholic and I need help. I need help or I’m going to die.” He again entered a 12-step program and, while clean since then, considers himself on the path to recovery, and since 2010 has begun to rebuild his career by starring in the Off-Broadway David Ives play “Venus in Fur” opposite Nina Arianda at the Classic Stage Company in New York City.

BENTLEY, Wes (Wesley Cook Bentley) [9/4/1978, Jonesboro, Arkansas, U.S.A. -     ] - producer, married to actress Jennifer Quanz (2001-2009), producer Jacqui Swedberg (2010-    ).
The Claim - 1999 (Donald Daglish)

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