If you read between the lines of Wes Bentley's IMDb page, you can glimpse the nosedive his career took between 2000, just after he shot to fame with Sam Mendes's critically lauded "American Beauty," and 2011, when the plum film roles began rolling in again.
There's a reason for that roughly 10-year slowdown: Bentley, now 34, was struggling with drug addiction.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Bentley admits that his sudden success with "American Beauty" was too much for his 21-year-old self to handle. He turned to drugs as a means of escape, and became hooked on heroin "in a matter of days."
"There was a point where I had written off survival," the actor told People in 2011. "I was so numb, I was okay with it. I thought, this is what I am going to be -- dead."
Bentley stopped using in 2009 -- one year after getting arrested for heroin possession, three years after separating from his first wife, actress Jennifer Quanz (they divorced in 2009), and one year after his best friend (and "Four Feathers" co-star) Heath Ledger died of a prescription drug overdose.
He credits his second marriage, to producer Jacqui Swedberg, with whom he has a 2-year-old son, as a strong motivator to steer clear of drugs. "[Heath] dying and leaving [his daughter] Matilda had a huge impact on me then, but more so now that I have a son," Bentley revealed to People. "It was a wake-up call that I didn't answer."
Now four years sober and with a new lease on life, Bentley's dance card is more than full. His role in "The Hunger Games," as Seneca Crane, cemented his comeback, and his next movie, the indie biopic "Lovelace," hits theaters August 9. He has nine additional films in the works, including Christopher Nolan's star-studded "Interstellar," as well as the Ryan Murphy HBO pilot "Open."
"I've been given this second chance, and I'm going to do everything I can with it," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "And with Chris Nolan giving me an opportunity, I'm working with people that I can really learn from."