'Hunger Games' Star Wes Bentley Talks Additional Scenes (EXCLUSIVE)
A lot of you saw The Hunger Games over the weekend, so now you know the additional scenes that Gary Ross added with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Wes Bentley (Seneca Crane). We talked to Wes exclusively who filled us in on his journey becoming Seneca and why those additions were so vital. How did you get involved in the project?
I knew about The Hunger Games. I heard through the business grapevine that Jen Lawrence was cast in her next movie, and I loved Winter's Bone, I knew that girl was going to be the next big thing, as an actor. I was interested in what she was doing and it was The Hunger Games. Little did I know my great team was already working on getting me in it! Thankfully so.
The scenes with you and Donald were amazing and give great insight into the Captiol and President Snow. Can you talk about how those additions came to be?
It was all Gary [Ross]. Gary had some great ideas of course, one of them being that it would be interesting to show the disconnect between the generations already. One opportunity to do that would be Seneca and President Snow. We picture most Gamemakers older and already established in the system, but Seneca had become a celebrity in his first Hunger Games right away. He was pretty cocky and arrogant about that. He came onto the scene and had his own bit of power there at the Capitol through his celebrity. After the scene with Katniss shooting an arrow through the apple, what Seneca saw as an opportunity, President Snow saw as a potential problem. I think it adds a lot to the movie, I'm glad we did that.
The scene where Jen shoots the apple is so great
Jen trained for a long time. I talked to her a bit on set, she had this crazy Russian teacher she was telling me about. One of my favorite parts is the close up when she is breathing before getting ready to shoot [for the Gamemakers]. Subtleties like that I thought were great. She didn't shoot an arrow at me though, I imagine she could have!
You obviously speak highly of Jen, what do you think it is that makes her such a great actress?
She is great! It was great. I was so excited to meet her and just talk to her a bit. She's so playful and very funny and witty. She would be that way right up to action, but then after action she's all work. Something I admire, I'm not a method actor neither and neither is she, is that you could tell how prepared and focused she always was. She carried the movie on subtly. I don't know if people understand how hard that is to do.
Why do you think Seneca changed the rule at the end to let both Peeta and Katniss win? Was it to appease the audience? Or because he wanted to send the Capitol a message too?
What's cool about the movie is we'll never know! I have my own ideas about it. I like letting the audience decide. I don't want to say because it's fun not to do that. I will say this-- I don't think it was a straightforward decision. I think it speaks a lot to the future of the story.
What message do you hope this film gets across?
I think it's right inline with now and with the past. Right now we're just sacrificing other things with reality TV, like dignity and our own intelligence. I do watch reality TV, mostly out of fascination, so I am contributing my own bit there. I don't really like it. As far as it applying to Hunger Games I think it's a direct comparison. We've been where The Hunger Games has been before. We've put people in arenas and they weren't choosing to be there, just like these kids aren't choosing to be there. This isn't about violence of man as far as this isn't the kids choice.
Check out more from Wes below.