Wes Bentley is more than just the hotshot lawyer and son of Kevin Costner’s John Dutton on “Yellowstone.”
While many TV fans likely recognize Bentley as Jamie Dutton on the hit Paramount Network show, this is far from his first rodeo on screen. Before dealing with the legal chaos and ranch-lifestyle on “Yellowstone,” Bentley made a name for himself in a number of other major roles in the movies and television.
Where did Bentley Start?
Bentley was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on September 4, 1978. He was raised in a religious household where both of his parents pastored a church.
The actor is of German, Scottish, and English descent. When he was in high school, he started acting in his school’s drama club. He even had his own improv comedy group with a few of his friends.
When he graduated high school he decided to continue his passion for acting. He attended Julliard Drama School, only to end up dropping out when an acting role came his way, according to Buro.
Roping in Some Huge Roles
Besides his most recent appearance in “Yellowstone,” the 42-year-old actor is well-known for many top-grossing and critically-acclaimed movies in Hollywood.
His very first film was in 1995 in “Serendipity Lane.” He played the role of Lonnie. Then he played the role of a school teacher’s nephew in “Beloved,” a creepy horror drama film.
These two beginning roles led him to what is considered his breakout role in “American Beauty.” In the film, he plays Ricky Fitts, a teenager who films his surroundings with a camcorder. The character also deals marijuana as a part-time gig along with his other job as a waiter.
Following along his path of horror or thrillers, he appeared in “Dolan’s Cadillac.” A movie based on a Stephen King story.
Then, in 2007, Bentley began to ease even more into bigger roles. His role in the film “Ghost Rider” alongside Nicolas Cage as Blackheart/Legion makes him a part of the Marvel universe.
He also had several roles in the wildly popular TV show “American Horror Story.”
However, arguably his most recognizable role to this day on the big screen was in “The Hunger Games” in 2012. He played the twisted Seneca Crane, the “game maker” behind the annual death match pitting children against one another. His eccentric hair and facial hair are likely burnt into many fans’ heads.
He’s also well known for roles in blockbuster hits “Interstellar” and “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.”
Besides “Yellowstone,” his most recent role was last year as Floyd Kelly in “The Best of Enemies.”
Bentley Battles a History of Addiction
Bentley was married to Jennifer Quanz from 2001 to 2009. They ended up getting divorced because of his struggle with substance abuse.
Bentley picked up small roles before getting into trouble on set, getting arrested, and being forced into counseling. He kept using heroin and ended up broke. He at one point even quit acting due to his drug usage.
Bentley had difficulty landing roles at the height of his drug usage. Also, around when he was charged for possession of heroin, his best friend Heath Ledger overdosed on prescription drugs.
During this dark period of his life, he turned down a handful of key roles. In fact, he even turned down a Christopher Nolan movie, although he would later star in “Interstellar.”
Remarkably, Bentley is one of the few actors who were able to come back and succeed in the acting industry after major addiction issues. Another notable example is fellow MCU member Robert Downey Jr. who famously overcame addiction and is widely known as Iron Man in the “Avengers” movies.
From Drama to Disney Dad
In 2010, Bentley married Jacqui Swedberg. They have a son and a daughter together.
When he starred in Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” as a less cynical character, it was his son’s first time watching his dad on the big screen.
Even better, his family came with him for a lot of the filming process in New Zealand. Bentley took a huge liking for New Zealand during filming.
“It was beautiful. My family came out for the last two months so I had my kids and my wife out there. I had a lot of time between shooting so I got to do a lot of the touring around and we got to go do a bunch of very exciting things. Everywhere you turn in New Zealand there’s something exciting to do and you don’t have to sign a bunch of waivers and all of that so it was a blast. It’s the gem of the world,” Bentley said in an interview with Double Duty Mommy.
In fact, when the actor was filming “Pete’s Dragon” he was worried about the potential environmental impact that the movie could have on New Zealand. Part of the film involved having to cut down trees.
When it comes to “Pete’s Dragon,” something that stands out from his other more serious roles is that he didn’t even have to audition for it. He met with David Lowery about something else the prior year and he still wanted him to play this role.
The fourth season of “Yellowstone” is in production with no announcements as to when it will premiere.