Interview: Wes Bentley Taps Into His Dark Past

Wes Bentley quickly hit the spotlight after American Beauty, but he told CineMovie he wasn't quite prepared for the pressures of Hollywood and retreated into what he calls "my own little cave." The American Beauty actor has made a career of playing dark moody characters, and in director Roland Joffe's THERE BE DRAGONS, his character of Manolo is no different.

THERE BE DRAGONS tells the story of a London-based journalist (Dougray Scott) researching a book about Josemaria Escriva, the controversial founder of Opus Dei. When the reporter finds out his father, (played by Wes) grew up with Josemaria, he turns to his aging father who is ashamed of his past. As a young frustrated Manolo, he joined the brutal Spanish civil war and became obsessed and jealous over a beautiful Hungarian revolutionary (Olga Kurylenko) in love with another.

Wes Bentley didn't need to go method to play Manolo. "I can understand the same isolation as Manolo." he told CineMovie. Wes has recently been open about his substance abuse and his "self-imposed isolation" after American Beauty.  
Wes Bentley is Manolo in There Be Dragons
"One thing about going through dark things in your life is that I was already there like Manolo. I was able to connect to him in that weird way," he said.

How does the Ghostrider star prepare for such roles? We asked Wes Bentley for two tips to playing emotionally-driven characters.

1. "You have to explore yourself. It's an experience in a way. Tap into that side and commit."

2. "When they say 'cut' - cut. Let it go and find another outlet."

Playing the young troubled Manolo in THERE BE DRAGONS wasn't the most difficult part of making the movie nor were the grueling war scenes. Wes tells us becoming the aging Manolo proved the "hardest thing" he's ever done as an actor. Having to transform into an old man through body work, voice work and hours of sitting in the make-up chair was no easy feat physically. The war scenes, he joked, were fun in comparison to his physical transformation.  "I love running around with a gun. I'm still a little boy."

Many might not know, Wes Bentley formed an improv group in high school. While he hasn't many chances to show his comedic side on screen, he promises a comedy is certainly in his future.

Wes just recently signed on to star in Lionsgate's The Hunger Games as Seneca Crane which starts production soon.

THERE BE DRAGONS is in limited release in movie theaters May 6, 2011.


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