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Wes Bentley talks drug addiction, new role in 'There Be Dragons'

May 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wes Bentley shot to fame in the 1999 Oscar-winning film "American Beauty." But at 21, it was just too much to handle.

"I just isolated myself. It's sad, you know, the way I did it is I just didn't tell anybody and I slowly cut people off and cut myself off from people who cared," he said.

For much of a decade, Bentley dealt with an addiction to hard drugs by locking himself away, emerging only when he needed to make money.

"I had a lot of people who cared about me and I feel very lucky in that. It was very tough and very scary, and scary for them and me. I'm just so happy to be back up on my feet and really present," he said.

Bentley is back as a serious actor, devoted husband and loving father to a baby boy. He's now starring in director Roland Joffe's Spanish Civil War drama, "There Be Dragons," about two men who take very different paths in life.

"I was excited to be a part of something -- especially with Roland doing it -- that could inform people a little bit about the war," said Bentley. "Going a little bit further and exploring it a little bit more about it, it was interesting to learn. I love being a part of that."

For his role, Bentley had to age to the point of being unrecognizable.

"Amazing make-up and a lot of body work and voice work and, of course, the accent helps a bit," said Bentley. "It was a lot of work."

"There Be Dragons" also stars Charlie Cox, Dougray Scott and Rodrigo Santoro. It opens in theaters on Friday, May 6.