I love inspirational movies, and I often wonder if the actors are touched by the moving, inspirational stories and dialogue they are part of. At least one movie has had such an impact. “There Be Dragons,” the upcoming historical epic written and directed by Roland Joffé which will be in theaters in May, has already had a profound impact on actor Wes Bentley (“American Beauty,” “The Four Feathers.”).
Bringing Love to the World
According to Joffé, he wanted to create a movie “about bringing love to the world and the absence of love,” and to do so, he contrasted the characters of “Manolo” (Wes Bentley) and the saintly priest, “Josemaria” (Charlie Cox) in “There Be Dragons.”
“When love goes, it leaves a vacuum,” says Joffé in a couple of videos about the movie. “Manolo is full of love; it’s just it’s gotten tied up in a dreadful knot.”
Knitting Manolo & Wes Bentley Together
Wes Bentley, who according to his bio is the son of two United Methodist ministers, states, “I can knit Manolo and me together very easily. He did so many things wrong. His actual actions were so wrong, all they time. They were always so self serving. And I definitely did that. I’ve myself have been self serving, selfish. And I was lost, completely lost.”
Bentley’s Descent into Alcohol & Drug Addiction
In a New York Times article on February 8, 2010, Bentley describes his descent into alcohol and drug addiction that began almost immediately after his success in “American Beauty.” Bentley tells the writer that he “abandoned the spirituality of his youth and turned to partying in a group house that he shared with the actors Brad Rowe and Chad Lindberg, among others.”
Finding parallels to his character in “There Be Dragons” Bentley states, “Manolo was lost, and just was trying so hard to be something that he was nothing. I spent the past 10 years before I got sober being nothing. I was a broken person, and it just led to bad choices and dark things.”
Bentley says he got to the point where dying didn’t matter to him. Then he began working on “There Be Dragons.”
Based on a True Story
The film is set during the tumultuous Spanish Civil War. Based upon a true story, “There Be Dragons” is about two childhood friends who become separated during the political conflict and find themselves on opposite sides of the war. Josemaria chooses the path of peace and becomes a priest while Manolo chooses the life of a soldier driven by jealousy and revenge.
“I actually got sober on this movie,” says Bentley, who had some success with a 12-step program in 2009, according to Wikipedia. “I was lucky enough to meet someone on this film who was very spiritual without trying to be.” Bentley says about the experience, “It set me free.”
Strong Spiritual Experience
“I had obviously a very strong spiritual experience on this film,” Bentley says on the video. “I found a reconnection to God and to people. I just reconnected to life.” A year and a half after his life-changing experience, Wes Bentley says the changes remain a part of him.
Roland Joffé’s “There Be Dragons” with Wes Bentley and Charlie Cox will open in Theaters May 6, 2011.
Wes Bentley Faces His Dragons
Wes Bentley video
Wes Bentley Biography