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OTRC: Wes Bentley praises Seneca's beard in 'The Hunger Games'

Wes Bentley appears in a still from 'The Hunger Games.' / Wes Bentley talks to OnTheRedCarpet.com at the premiere of 'The Hunger Games' on March 12, 2012. (Lionsgate / OTRC)

Wes Bentley of "American Beauty" talked to OnTheRedCarpet.com about portraying Seneca Crane in "The Hunger Games."

Crane is the head game maker of the 74th Hunger Games in the film and Bentley got into character with the help of some exceptionally stylized facial hair.

"It really defined the character for me," Bentley told OnTheRedCarpet.com of his beard, at the film's premiere. "Ve Neil is the makeup designer and she brought something special. I was looking for it and she got it - I could go from there. Seneca's a celebrity in his world and in the world of the capital, it's very garish, so you have to stand out and she made it happen."

At a recent event, Jennifer Lawrence also referenced Bentley's facial hair. When asked which character she would be if she hadn't portrayed Katniss, the actress said, "I would be Wes Bentley's beard."

Before the release of the film, Seneca's beard already had its own fan page on Facebook titled " Seneca Crane's Beard," which at press time had 9,750 likes.

Bentley told People magazine that during filming, he got some "crazy looks" when he went into town in rural North Carolina, but found that some people didn't seem to notice.

"I had my child in town and would have to go pick up some baby formula at Target at two in the morning or stop in a gas station for a candy bar in the middle of rural Carolina," Bentley told People. "I got crazy looks at Target and the gas station, but at Wal-Mart, they didn't blink an eye... I don't know what they assumed."

Bentley, who has managed to avoid the spotlight in recent years, was a bit overwhelmed by the massive number of fans at "The Hunger Games" worldwide premiere.

"There was a time when I would have run and hid but now there's nothing to hide from - it's a lot of great energy and its fun to be around," Bentley said. "I promised myself before I got here that I would open my eyes and take it all in."

In the sci-fi movie, Jennifer Lawrence, a 21-year-old actress who was nominated for an Oscar for "Winter's Bone," plays Katniss Everdeen. She lives in a post-apocalyptic future where a boy and girl from various districts are chosen and taken to a massive area to fight to the death in an annual event called the Hunger Games. The actions of the fighters, or tributes, are filmed and broadcast like a reality show.

The film is an adaptation of the first book in a series by Suzanne Collins and hit theaters on Friday, March 23. "The Hunger Games" also features Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson as Everdeen's love interests.

Bentley is best known for his role as Ricky Fitts, the amateur film-maker in "American Beauty." He has also appeared in films like "The Four Feathers," "Jonah Hex," "Ghost Rider" and "P2."

After the success of "American Beauty," Bentley dealt with drug addiction and alcoholism up until 2009. The documentary "My Big Break" follows the actors rise to fame, struggle with drug addiction and his eventual recovery.

Watch the trailer for "The Hunger Games" below.

Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet"(check for local TV listings).

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