“It’s a bad thing just to play off your looks. People have given me a chance to transform myself. That’s what I love about acting.” Wes Bentley
One of Hollywood burgeoning stars, Wes Bentley got his start on local plays and independent films before storming into Hollywood scene with his galvanizing portrait of former mental patient-turn-drug-dealing videographer Ricky Fitts in the highly-acclaimed American Beauty (1999). For his efforts, he took home a Chicago Film Critics Association Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a National Board of Review Award, a Young Hollywood Award, and an Online Film Critics Society Award, as well as a BAFTA and MTV Movie nominations.
Since the breakthrough performance, Bentley’s career has ignited. He is set to play roles in the forthcoming The Ungodly (2006), Weirdsville (2007) and Ghost Rider (2007, with Nicolas Cage).
Off camera, Bentley, who shares his birthday with actress/pop singer Beyoncé Knowles, is married to Jennifer Quanz.
Childhood and Family:
Wesley Cook Bentley was born on September 4, 1978, to Methodist ministers, David and Cherie Bentley. A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, he was raised in Mountain Home, Arkansas, until his sophomore year, and then moved to Sherwood, Arkansas, where he attended Sylvan Hills High School. He was a drum major at his junior, played the trombone, and was inspired to be a hip hop artist. A huge soccer fan, this self-describe “pretty boy” took part in sports in an attempt to neutralize the mockery and abuse he received from classmates over his face. During his high school days, Wesley also became the member of his school’s drama club. After graduating in 1996, he briefly attended the prestigious Juilliard Drama School in New York.
The brother of Jamey, Philip and Patrick was married to Jennifer Quanz on September 25, 2001. Wesley considers himself a Taoist regardless of his Methodist upbringing.
Wes Bentley started acting in high school. Aside from joining a drama club at school, he also participated in a number of local productions, including “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “La Cage aux Folles” and “Oliver.” After high school graduation, he headed to New York to attend a drama school, but dropped out quickly. While there, he was cast in such stage productions as “Henry IV, Part 1” and “The Weavers.”
Bentley, who once worked as a waiter at TGI Friday’s on Long Island, got his first taste in front the film camera with a role in the independent Three Below Zero (1998), a drama directed by Simon Aeby, and was additionally featured as Schoolteacher’s Nephew in Jonathan Demme’s Beloved, that same year. The latter film starred Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton.
A year later, the young actor earned his breakthrough role when director Sam Mendes had him play the supporting role of Ricky Fitts in the Academy Award winning American Beauty. His incredible portrayal of drug-dealing videographer who romances his neighbor’s daughter brought Bentley a Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Actor, a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture and a National Board of Review for Breakthrough Performer. Additionally, he picked up a BAFTA nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role as well as a MTV Movie nod for Breakthrough Male Performance. Along with his cast mates that included Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening and Thora Birch, he also nabbed a Young Hollywood for Best On-screen Chemistry and an Online Film Critics Society for Best Ensemble. The success cemented Bentley’s reputation as an ascending star.
The left-handed actor followed the triumph by taking on the lead of a young serial killer who joins forces with a roving con man (Antonio Banderas) in The White River Kid (2000), portraying a railroad assessor named Dalglish in Michael Winterbottom’s The Claim (2000, opposite Peter Mullan and Milla Jovovich) and teaming up with Melissa Sagemiller, Eliza Dushku and Luke Wilson in the thriller Soul Survivors (2001). He also starred in the remake of The Four Feathers (2002), helmed by Shekhar Kapur and costarring Heath Ledger.
After a two-year hiatus, Bentley revisited the wide screen with the sport-themed The Game of Their Lives (2005), starring along side Gerard Butler. Based on a true story, the movie follows the story of the 1950 American soccer squad who, against all odds, strike England in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He will play Mickey Gravatski in the upcoming thriller The Ungodly (2006) for Thomas Dunn, and in 2007, he can add comedy-drama Weirdsville and the Nicolas Cage starring vehicle Ghost Rider to his impressive credits.
“It’s surreal how nonchalant my family is about it, because no one else in my hometown is. People seem to find my number, and most of them are guys who used to threaten to beat me up. Wes Bentley concerning about his celebrity