'Game' thesp joins Cage in Marvel pic

“American Beauty” star Wes Bentley will play the villain Blackheart in “Ghost Rider,” the Columbia Pictures drama that stars Nicolas Cage and is being directed by Mark Steven Johnson.

The Marvel Comics property centers on a motorcyclist who makes a pact with dark forces, gets double-crossed and battles the bad guys to protect the woman he loves. Pic is being produced by Michael De Luca, Avi Arad, Gary Foster and Ari Arad. Johnson rewrote a Shane Salerno script.

The 25-year-old Bentley was last seen in soccer pic “The Game of Their Lives,” but the role indicates he’s serious about pursuing the star track he appeared to be on after his breakout role in “American Beauty.”

Bentley is a pal of Colin Farrell, who played the memorable villain Bullseye in “Daredevil.” Johnson directed that film, and Farrell put the actor and helmer together. Bentley’s character has the same showy appeal. Pic begins shooting next month in Australia.

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