A few days ago, we talked about why Tom Bentley believes that the story of John Wesley Hardin should be filmed in and around the town of Comanche, Texas. His reasons are obvious and stand on their own. Today, I want to delve a little deeper into just who is this Tom Bentley anyway?
His story is actually quite interesting
A native son of Texas, Thomas Bentley was born in Big Spring. His family lived in Midland and Lubbock ending up in the Dallas area.
Tom’s entertainment career began in the world of live Wild West Shows and Equine Plays of all kinds. Early on, he learned to train stunt and trick horses which led him to the world of sport horses and some really great horse trainers. But his love of films, television shows and commercials sent him to Brackettville Texas, to the famed HV Ranch / AlamoVillage and the late Happy Shahan.
Shahan got Tom on a lot of shows as an extra and wrangler and introduced him to several top Stunt Coordinators and Directors. Stunt coordinator Walter Scott immediately recognized Tom’s talents and resources bringing Tom in to work on the film “Bad Girls” with one of his rearing horses to double Andie McDowell’s horse.
After that, Walter brought him to North Carolina with 3 of his horses, and Tom’s career as a stuntman was on its way. After that show, Tom joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 1994 and now has a lengthy list of credits for feature films, television shows, and commercials.
One of the more notable stunts he has performed is in the Dennis Hopper film “Carried Away.” He trained a horse for a “Liberty Fire Gag” in which the horse, totally engulfed in fire runs across a pasture, jumps a fence, and disappears into the woods.
Among many others, actors and actress that have been on Tom’s horses include Andie MacDowell, Barry Corbin, Rose McGowan, Colin Farrell, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Sorbo.
After much advanced schooling and training, Tom was hired for a large array of productions, highlighting his excellent stunt driving, motorcycle training, fight scenes, and other stunt techniques.
He has worked as Boss Wrangler, Stunt Coordinator, 2nd Unit Director, and Director on numerous projects including the 2009 faith based film “Genesis Code” in which he coordinated and directed the hockey scenes and had several on camera scenes which entitled Tom to membership in the Directors Guild of America (DGA).
Tom also produced and pitched the pilot “Extreme Horseman,” to the Animal Planet Channel and has produced and directed numerous commercials.
In order to focus on projects in which he can utilize the skills he has learned over the past 20 + years, Tom formed Bentley & Associates Motion Pictures (BAM Pictures), an independent Texas based production company and gathered a core team of colleagues and seasoned industry veterans. One of the company’s first projects is “Hardin, Dark Angel of Texas,” a feature film based on the life and times of notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin.
The film is a project of passion for Bentley who began researching the character several years ago and realized that Hardin’s is a fascinating story which has never been fully explored. The project is in development and expected to go into production in 2014.
“However,” Bentley says, “We are not doing this just to be a one trick pony. I have carefully pulled together a group of people with a shared vision and a passion for the industry so that we have the infrastructure to follow up with additional projects, both movie and television.”
Bentley and his team will select the projects and then find the Director that best suits each project.…not a one Director fits all approach.
There will be a town hall meeting on November 6, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. in the commons of Comanche High School for those who would like to hear more about this venture.