Actor Wes Bentley is finally embracing his celebrity status after fighting a decade-long battle against drug and alcohol addictions and a fear of attention, reported Reuters. The actor, who went through a dark phase in his life during early 2000s, can now be seen fully recuperated and cleaned up in the record-breaking film The Hunger Games.
Bentley, 33, exploded onto the scene at the age of 21 with a breakout role in the 1999 Oscar-winning film American Beauty. Bentley played the voyeuristic shy, boy-next-door Ricky Fitts; a role which thrusted the The Juilliard School dropout into the spotlight. The young actor found himself struggling with the newfound attention and eventually turned to drugs and alcohol for solace, which snowballed into an extreme drug addiction. “I wanted fame, but I thought it would be incremental and I became afraid of the overnight-sensation thing,” Bentley confessed.
His addiction took its toll on his personal life and led to his separation from wife Jennifer Quanz in 2006 and an arrest for heroin possession in 2008. “I didn’t handle it particularly well and I was already prone to vices,” the actor told Reuters of his first brush with fame. “I turned to things I thought made me feel comfortable, which were drugs and alcohol. But those weren’t the most dangerous things, it was the reclusiveness. I shut off from family and friends.”
After the success of American Beauty, Bentley was offered big commercial roles, including the box-office hit Spider-Man, but he rejected the big money. “I didn’t want to go there because I believed in what I did in American Beauty was special and I had higher expectations for myself to do something like that again,” said the actor.
Those expectations were coupled with a fear of attention, which Bentley said led him to avoid as many reel ventures as possible, including “really great scripts” for films that were later made with other actors and turned out to be box office hits. “I regret not doing them and they’re painful to watch sometimes. But they’re a reminder of my struggle. If I were to get those opportunities again, I’d know exactly how to handle them. I think age and experience has made me more decisive and clear-headed,” he said.
The actor, who briefly entered a rehabilitation programme and attended 12-step programme in 2008, plays game-maker Seneca Crane in his latest blockbuster The Hunger Games.
These days Bentley is making headlines for his bromance with current co-star Christian Bale. The duo was recently spotted taking long walks on the beach, hugging and giving one another piggyback rides, but viewers and fans are requested not to be too quick to judge. The good-looking gentlemen were simply sharing cosy moments while filming scenes for their upcoming film Knight of Cups, which is scheduled to release in 2013.
(With additional information from dailymail.co.uk)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2012.