Wes Bentley Books Ryan Murphy's Pilot: Walk Through the Highs and Lows of His Career

Wes Bentley's road in Hollywood has been rough. He's survived plastic bag jokes, the pressures of fame, and, more admirably, drug addiction, which brought his once-promising career to a halt. But, hot off the heels of 'Hunger Games,' the actor has booked his next high-profile role as the star in Ryan Murphy's HBO pilot 'Open.' (In the drama, he'll play a man with many theories on sexuality.) Read on to see how substance abuse made Bentley put on the brakes, and how he came speeding right back into Hollywood.

Bentley's Back!

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Wes Bentley's road in Hollywood has been rough. He's survived plastic bag jokes, the pressures of fame, and, more admirably, drug addiction, which brought his once-promising career to a halt. But, hot off the heels of 'Hunger Games,' the actor has booked his next high-profile role as the star in Ryan Murphy's HBO pilot 'Open.' (In the drama, he'll play a man with many theories on sexuality.) Read on to see how substance abuse made Bentley put on the brakes, and how he came speeding right back into Hollywood.

A Beautiful Beginning

The son of a minister and chaplain, Bentley pursued a much different career as a student, enrolling in Julliard's Drama Division before dropping out to make it in Hollywood. And make it he did — after small roles in 'Three Below Zero' and 'Beloved,' Bentley booked a part in future Oscar winner 'American Beauty' as Ricky, an artistic neighbor who befriends Kevin Spacey's son. Though Bentley became more synonymous with a plastic bag than his acting chops in the film, his profile was raised from unknown, and his future seemed bright. [Image: DreamWorks]

A Tough Climb

The role in 'American Beauty' nearly led to a starring role in 'Brokeback Mountain' (before it was handed over to Ang Lee) and did lead to a starring role in 'The Four Feathers.' But Bentley started to get overwhelmed by the pressure of overnight fame, and began using substances in order to cope. When 2002's 'The Four Feathers' was panned by critics, things only got worse for Bentley.

A Rapid Fall

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Soon, Bentley's drug habit reached critical mass, with the actor skipping out on reading scripts in order to score heroin in L.A. He spent his nights sniffing cocaine at clubs, which inevitably led to the end of his marriage to Jennifer Quanz, who he had wed in 2001. In between 2001 and 2007, he only starred in one film: the forgettable 'The Game of Their Lives.'

Riding Solo

Bentley kicked up his film slate in 2007, starring in films like 'Weirdsville' and 'P2.' Unfortunately, his work didn't get much traction — even starring in the superhero flick 'Ghost Rider' only led to more bad reviews. [Image: Summit Entertainment]

Rock Bottom

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Despite his return to acting, Bentley still couldn't return to life as a sober actor. In 2008, he was arrested for heroin possession, and continued using until he ran out of money. As he told 'The New York Times,' "I had come back to L.A. for something, and I drank a whole bottle of Scotch, and I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to die in this hotel room with this bottle of Scotch,’ ” he said. “It was after that I told a friend for the first time: ‘I’m a drug addict, and an alcoholic, and I need help. I need help or I’m going to die.’"

Edging Towards Center Stage

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After hitting rock bottom, Bentley entered rehab and, after completing his stint, entered Hollywood once again with another dud, 'Jonah Hex.' But his work on stage in "Venus in Fur" won respect from critics, and he parlayed his stage work into even more film roles like 'Rites of Passage.' But he didn't get his second wind until...

Hungry For More

Bentley surprised fans and reporters alike by scoring a role in the anticipated 'Hunger Games,' in which he played Seneca Crane. The blockbuster gave Bentley the second breakout he needed, leading to roles in 'Lovelace,' and, now, in Ryan Murphy's HBO pilot. We can't wait to watch him in its one good season. [Image: Lionsgate]