Date of Birth: September 4, 1978
Born the second son of two Methodist preachers in Arkansas, Wes Bentley was encouraged by his mother to apply to Juilliard, where he spent a year studying acting and earning his first roles in plays. The process of learning wasn't always easy, as personal group critiques were part of the curriculum, and Bentley didn't take it too well. He picked up the book The Tao of Pooh, and about three-quarters the way through, reverted to Taoism.
This serenity would come in handy when Bentley began looking for his first professional part. While waiting to audition at an open call for the Broadway musical Rent, Bentley was tapped by a casting agent to read for a movie. He utilized his Juilliard dramatic skills at no fewer than seven callbacks before landing the part. Unfortunately, audiences haven't seen any celluloid evidence that the film even exists. As Bentley told Vanity Fair in 1999, "I don't know where the movie is now."
He then appeared as an anguished guitarist in the German indie film Three Before Zero and in a blink-and-you-missed-it part as a rapist in the Jonathan Demme/Oprah Winfrey clunker Beloved. But it was Bentely's performance as Ricky Fitts, a teenage drug dealer/philosophical videographer in American Beauty that caught the attention of Hollywood. The film, which won the Golden Globe for Best Drama and starred Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, was well-received by critics and the public alike. He followed it up with Kingdom Come, an epic love story set during the California Gold Rush and directed by Michael Winterbottom. Other cast members include Milla Jovovich, Nastassja Kinski, Peter Mullan, and Sarah Polley. A subsequent project, Soul Survivors, was a "really interesting thriller," enthused Bentley. "I play a very smart guy who's going to Harvard, but he's obsessed with this girl and gets caught up with that."
Bentley played Heath Ledger's best friend in the epic The Four Feathers (2002), a soccer player in The Game of Their Lives (2005) opposite Gerard Butler and Adleman Lusk in Jonah Hex (2010) opposite Josh Brolin. He also appearred in the 2012 film The Hunger Games alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, and several other big names. Most recently, he has starred in films such as Interstellar (2015), Pete's Dragon (2016) and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018).
In September 2001, he married Jennifer Quanz. They divorced in 2010 and the same year, he married Jacqui Swedberg, with whom he now has two children.