Hunger Games Actor Wes Bentley Finding His Way Again After Drug Rehab
The hottest movie in theatres today is The Hunger Games, a futuristic tale of thirst for violence run amok. Actor Wes Bentley plays the man responsible for the games around which the story revolves. The movie marks his first major screen appearance since his famed role as the shy neighbor boy in the Oscar-winning film American Beauty. In between the two films the now 33 year old actor spent roughly 10 years spiraling downward into alcohol abuse and drug addiction. Now, he’s older, sober and back with another attention-getting role.
Bentley was only 21 years old when he turned in his American Beauty performance – a role which skyrocketed his career from relative obscurity to the A-list. Seemingly overnight Bentley went from struggling actor to life in the constant flash of cameras. His meteoric rise to fame was stressful for the young actor. The stress of notoriety and the spotlight led him to resort to the drugs and alcohol he had used recreationally since high school. As so often happens, the actor moved rapidly from marijuana use to abusing drugs like Ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin.
At the time, Bentley shared a house with other aspiring actors and together they fell prey to the trap of drugs and alcohol. Too much money and too much free time and the foolhardy notion that prime movie offers would never dry up fed their headlong plunge into addiction. Bentley’s American Beauty performance did win him many prize role offers during this time, but his addiction became so consuming that acting soon became merely a means of funding his habit. A box office flop did little to keep his name near the top of the list for long.
A brief marriage failed as did his first attempt at drug rehab. In fact even a 2008 arrest for drug possession and passing counterfeit bills did little to convince the actor that change was needed. Bentley finally woke up to the severity of his problem when he wound up by himself in a hotel room with a bottle of alcohol and it dawned on him that he could die there drunk and alone. Only then was he ready to confess his addiction and his need for serious drug rehab. The decision to enter rehab and avoid relapse has led to other positive steps.
Following drug rehab Bentley decided to make 12-step meetings a regular part of his life. He remarried and had a son during this time as well. Fatherhood has given him the needed impetus to make better choices. Bentley hopes that speaking publicly about his struggle with addiction and his successful completion of drug rehab will open more doors of opportunity in terms of scripts. He has been sober for nearly a year and has turned in a high-profile performance. Hopefully, more good things are on the way.