Wes Bentley is one of the sweetest-looking actors in Hollywood (remember him as a tortured teen in "American Beauty?"). So how’d he get a gig playing Blackheart, the arch nemesis and supremely evil bad guy in this summer’s "Ghost Rider," opposite Nicolas Cage?
We talked to Bentley in Park City, Utah last week, where he was doing press for the Slamdance opener "Weirdsville," a stoner slacker adventure from "Pump Up The Volume" director Allan Moyle. After that film and with a handful of other indies under his belt (including the upcoming slacker flick "Hank and Mike"), he’s making a detour into big-budget territory — and it doesn’t get much bigger than the comic-adaptation of "Ghost Rider."
Although you might not guess it from his nice-guy repertoire, Bentley nabbed the evilest role of his career from the "Ghost Rider" director himself. "I knew [Mark Steven Johnson] through mutual friends; we get along to this day, he’s one of my closest friends," Bentley explains. "He just always saw me playing Blackheart."
Bentley’s indie-leaning career choices have definitely been deliberate, though he’s learned that not being a wide-eyed neophyte anymore has its benefits. "I don’t think I’ve ever lost touch with the studios fully," Bentley says. "I just don’t think — I wasn’t ready to exploit anything yet. So now I’m a little more open to ideas. I feel like now that I’m older, it’s a little bit easier to, you know, to not get lost. They won’t exploit you as much when you’re a little bit older."
Fans of the "Ghost Rider" comics know that Bentley’s character, Blackheart, is a fully drawn out demon, but the filmmakers had to make some adjustments with the look and size of the character for the film. "I do [look normal] until you get to the end of the movie, kind of. He takes on a…form," Bentley spills. "But it’s great CGI, incredible CGI! What we decided was that he needed to embody a human character to kind of drift through the world a little bit, to do what he wanted to do and if he looked completely strange, then…but he’s the main bad guy, so we had to have him in there."
Bentley certainly looks a gentle soul in person, but look for him to kick some Cage behind in the February flick. "Yeah, we had a good fight scene at the end," he promises. "And in the middle there’s a good scene where I beat him around a little bit!"