I have been a fan of Wes Bentley’s since his role in the Oscar-winning film, American Beauty, so I was super excited to be able to meet him and talk with him about his role as Jack in Pete’s Dragon! Plus, I got to sit right next to him during our interview, so there was that! He was laid back, down to earth, and fun to talk with.
Pete’s Dragon filmed in New Zealand, and he absolutely loved it. His wife and kids came during his last two months of shooting the film and they got to do a lot of touring and exciting thing. “Everywhere you turn in New Zealand there’s something exciting to do! I think it’s the gem of the world. It’s so far away from the madness. It was just stunning.”
This was Wes Bentley’s first Disney movie so he was excited to be a part of it, especially since he has young kids. He brought his 6 year old with him to the red carpet premiere and was anxious for Pete’s Dragon to be the first film he saw him in.
Wes told us that the producer of Pete’s Dragon, David Lowery asked him to be a part of the film. He said, ” He convinced them that I could be in this and that I could play a nice Disney dad and thankfully he did. It was everything I wanted to do and the direction I’ve been wanting to head. David is just one of the greatest guys I’ve met. He ins not just a talented Director, he is a warm, sweet man.”
In the past Wes Bentley played darker roles, so he talked to us about what it was like transitioning to the nice guy role. “It didn’t feel like it should be hard because I am a nice guy, and I have my own kids. I’m aware of my film habits because I have for so long played guys who are darker or dealing with very complex issues and are dealing with their darker sides. And so I came in really aware that there are obviously characteristics about my past characters that people might see in me. I really worked on being aware of my facial expressions so that people weren’t reminded of me in something else.”
On his role of Jack, “I feel like Jack was walking the balance of having to make money for his company and all these men in his small town that are depending on that company. And at the same time was himself environmentally aware of it but also becoming more environmentally aware because of who he was in love with and what she cared about.” His character also had to work through the relationship he had with his brother Gavin who was the opposite of Jack. “He just wanted to make money and was trying to be clever in that way. And that’s why he was a bit dangerous and that’s the conflict that was happening there. ”
When asked what it was like working with Robert Redford, he said, “It’s everything you think it’s gonna be. He’s someone I always wanted to emulate as an actor. His natural delivery, his charm, his selection of roles and what he can play. He’s just a warm man. You know, he came to set, always had great stories, and talked to everybody about everything. And then you’d watch him act and he just comes on and he’s just there. And it seems so easy for him, you know? And it’s just great to see that. And his love for film is very clear as well. He and David really clicked too and that was fun to watch.”
Wes told us that in the future he wants to play genuine guys. “I’d like to play a guy who doesn’t think so much. I’d love to play guys that the words come out before he thinks about it. What do we say? Think before you speak. The opposite of that. I want a guy who just, he’s kind of dumb in that way. So it’d be fun to play guys like that.”
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