Why Wes Bentley's 'Hunger Games' Beard Drew Stares Off Set

03/15/2012 at 12:15 PM ET

Seneca Crane BeardMurray Close/Lions Gate

Elizabeth Banks wasn’t the only one with a crazy Hunger Games beauty routine: Wes Bentley’s facial hair — required to play head gamemaker Seneca Crane in film — took three hours for makeup artist Ve Neill to sculpt each day.

“It’s my [hair],” Bentley revealed to PEOPLE at a recent Los Angeles press day for the film. “I showed up with a beard — as I always do — to set, and [makeup artist Ve Neill, who then created the pattern] was excited to see that.”

The detailed look reflects the avant-garde style beloved by citizens of the Capitol in the world of the Hunger Games. “It’s definitely that high-fashion look,” Bentley added.

While the beard’s futuristic design certainly fit in with the film’s stylized setting, it was less suited to rural North Carolina, where the cast and crew shot.

“I had my child in town and would have to go pick up some baby formula at Target at two in the morning or stop in a gas station for a candy bar in the middle of rural Carolina,” Bentley said. “I got crazy looks at Target and the gas station, but at Walmart, they didn’t blink an eye … I don’t know what they assumed.”

While the locals may not have known what to make of the actor’s odd appearance, one onlooker was definitely a fan: Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins.

“I know that she loved the beard when she saw it,” Bentley said. “So I was happy about that.”

But don’t expect the actor to make his character’s facial hair permanent. “Oh man, I couldn’t do it,” he said. “I’ve tried just to shape my beard so it doesn’t look scraggly, and I struggle with that.”

–Jessica Wedemeyer

STUDY UP ON EVERYTHING ‘HUNGER GAMES’ BEFORE THE FILM’S DEBUT

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Anna on

He is in the first book, he is just referred to as the “Head Gamemaker”. He’s there, but his name isn’t introduced.

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Karen on

I would have stared… because it’s a really sexy beard…

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Juli on

I LOVE Wes Bentley! That beard looks amazing on him and i HATE beards.LO

Saqib on

How is Christophe any more narcissistic than, say, Vincent van Gogh or Rembrandt van Rijn? Artists have orvefer used themselves as subjects in their own work, and why not? It’s a cheap source of ever-available model material! I think this was an artistic/expressive venture (of course, not everyone will agree), and I applaud the dedication and perseverance it took to complete the project. I don’t see this as a Look at me! See what I’m doing! attempt any more than any other expressive act.I can’t help but think that folks intent on finding fault with something so non-threatening are just a little too cool, too cynical, too jaded to really understand what it even means to attempt to honor one’s creative urge. How many of them have ever attempted ANYTHING original and creative? My experience has been that these types of folks don’t have anything of value to offer, because they’re so busy refusing to be impressed by anything. What sad, empty little lives they must lead.

kyle on

i want that when im older

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