Wes Bentley has been at the top of the heap thanks to performances in films like Ghost Rider, Jonah Hex and American Beauty, only to find himself sliding back down to the bottom thanks to inner demons and less than stellar scripts. But then something wonderful happened for Bentley and he found himself and his footing again. For the past few years, Bentley has been doing a “slow burn”, reemerging and reestablishing himself with an eclectic and diverse range of meaningful projects such as There Be Dragons and, of course, The Hunger Games. His latest big screen endeavor is The Time Being starring opposite Frank Langella. Next up is the much talked about Lovelace followed by Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups and a few other star-powered releases.
Now Bentley adds a star turn as “Evan Foster” in the upcoming HBO drama exploring human sexuality and relationships, Open. A rarity to see Bentley in a small screen project, the Ryan Murphy created Open was something he just couldn’t pass up. “It’s a pilot for now, I should say. . .It’s a very cool project. . .I’m talking to Ryan about what direction he’s gonna go and it’s very cool.”
Unable to “say too much about it” at this juncture, Bentley can say that “[Open] is about open relationships. It’s a great character for me because . . .it’s different from this sort of quiet thing that I do in a lot of films, which I enjoy doing. [Evan Foster] has no filter, all out, rude, but entertaining. He’s one of these guys that you just say, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re saying this and you’re saying it loud around a bunch of people but it’s hilarious!’ It’s funny and it’s rude. I don’t play guys like that often so I’m really excited about it.” Adding fuel to the fire is that “my buddy Scott Speadman is doing it with me, too. Scott’s amazing. We did a film years ago, a silly film, but we were able to improv each other, feed off each other, he’s a great friend. We’re gonna be able to click on this as well.”
The icing on the cake for Bentley though is that Open is an HBO project. “I love HBO. We all know this but I just want to say it, HBO is really doing something that’s amazing. It’s great to have a place like this where you go and it’s not all about the numbers that are coming in. They want to win awards. The way you prove yourself in these cable shows is you win awards. It’s not about the ratings, it’s not about who’s the sponsor and all these things or how many episodes you’re gonna do. It’s about how are we gonna impress people; not necessarily win any awards, but that you want to. You’re raising the quality. I think the long form narrative has saved our performance art because without long form narrative, in all these procedurals, we’re not filling out characters and characters are actually what we’re interested in, at least a lot of us are interested in. I just thank God for HBO and I’m so happy I’m on a project there.”