EXCLUSIVE: Wes Bentley talks 'The Hunger Games'

Thursday, 05 May 2011 13:33 Written by  Jami Philbrick
Rate this item
(2 votes)
EXCLUSIVE: Wes Bentley talks 'The Hunger Games'

While Lionsgate was busy this morning announcing that actor Wes Bentley had been cast as the role of Seneca Crane in their upcoming adaption of author Suzanne Collins' popular novel The Hunger Games ...  I just happened to be on the phone with the accomplished actor.

We were discussing his latest film, director Roland Joffe's There Be Dragons, which will be released in theaters on May 6th. But I took the rare opportunity to ask Wes Bentley about being cast in The Hunger Games and while he confirmed the news, he was much more tight-lipped about which role he was playing than Lionsgate was. "All I can say is that I have a role in Hunger Games," Bentley confirmed. "That's all that I can say though, I can't say too much about the role," the actor continued cryptically. "I am going to be in the film and I am very excited to say that. I'm really excited to be a part of it," he added.

Bentley first gained attention in 1999 for his breakout role in the Oscar winning film American Beauty, and has since appeared in supporting roles in less than successful film projects such as Ghost Rider, and last summer's disappointing Jonah Hex. Bentley admitted to me that his lack of good film choices in his post-American Beauty career are due in part to his substance abuse problems, which he now has under control. Bentley has been an extremely celebrated actor within the industry since his debut, and with his inclusion in one of the most anticipated films of 2012, he could be poised to make a huge career comeback much like Robert Downey Jr. did with Iron Man

Bentley joins a cat of talented young actors that includes Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) as the series heroine Katniss Everdeen, and Willow Shields as her little sister Primrose. Actor Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) has also been cast in the film as Peeta Mellark, and actor Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) is set to play the role of Gale Hawthorn. Finally, Paula Malcomson (Tombstone) will be playing the mother of Lawrence and Shields' characters, while actress Elizabeth Banks (Spider-Man, TV's 30 Rock) has signed on for the role of Katniss' pre-game handler Effie Trinket. The film will be directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) and produced by Nina Jacobson's Color Force and producer Jon Kilik (Broken Flowers).

If Bentley is in fact playing Seneca Crane, he will take on the role of the head gamemaker of the 74th Hunger Games in the film. In the story, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) and childhood acquaintance Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson) are forced to compete against one another, and twenty-two other young adults, in a life-threatening survival game after Katniss bravely volunteers herself to enter the arena so that her younger sister (Shields) does not have to.

While speaking to Wes Bentley, I continued to grill him about The Hunger Games and I asked the actor if he was familiar with the novels before he excepted the role in the film. "I was indeed," he replied. "I had heard a lot about it from a lot of people. I think that it has some great writing and is very intriguing. I think it is a really great idea and I'm excited to see what they are doing with the filming of it." I followed up by asking Bentley if he will be dissecting the book for clues about his character or instead just going off of the script. "I'll definitely go with the filmmaker on it. I don't think it hurts to read it. As far as how it will actually play out, that is up to the filmmakers and what their vision is."

Finally, I asked Bentley if has a start date yet for when he will begin working on the film. "I don't have one yet, sorry to say."

The Hunger Games is scheduled for release on March 23, 2012.

There Be Dragons opens in theaters tomorrow, May 6th.

More in this category

Follow ROGUE

Latest Trailers

view more »