Dayton native Bryant Louis Bentley (right) has a role in a new film by Emilio Estevez (left) called "The Public." CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Former Dayton Municipal Court bailiff has big role in new Emilio Estevez film

“The Public” opens April 5 in theaters nationwide

A Trotwood High School graduate and former bailiff for Dayton Municipal Court has a role in a new film directed by Emilio Estevez.

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Bryant Louis Bentley has a “lead principal role” in “The Public” playing “Cactus Ray,” one of four homeless men who initiate a protest at a library during a life-threatening cold snap. 

Dayton native Bryant Louis Bentley (left) and Michael Kenneth Williams (center) perform a scene in the film "The Public," while actor and director Emilio Estevez (right) takes photos. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“It was a wonderful time and Emilio is the best,” Bentley told us in a Facebook message. 

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The actor, who graduated from Trotwood High School in 1989, went on to study at Sinclair Community College and worked for Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith and County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, before ending his career as a Dayton Municipal Court Bailiff in 2002. 

“I’ve been a professional actor for 20 years now and Karl, Debbie and the judges of Dayton Municipal Court were full supporters of my work,” he said. 

Dayton natives Bryant Louis Bentley and Martin Sheen at the opening of "The Public," at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Bentley said he returned to Sinclair Community College for acting and started appearing in community theater. His first show was “Godspell” at the Playhouse South Community Theater in Miamisburg.


“The Public” was filmed in Cincinnati and will be released in theaters April 5. The Neon Movie theater, 130 E. Fifth St. in Dayton will show the movie that day. 

It stars Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Taylor Shilling, Gabrielle Union, Jeffrey Wright and Christian Slater. 

Dayton native Bryant Louis Bentley (far right) and other actors from the cast of "The Public." Bentley plays "Cactus Ray" in the new film by Emilio Estevez. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO / BRYANT LOUIS BENTLEY

Bentley, who is now based in Columbus, said Estevez came up with the name of the character he plays in the film. “Cactus” was an old nickname given to his father, Dayton native Martin Sheen, when he wore his hair spiked as a young man, Bentley said. 

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The actor is currently in West Palm Beach, Fla. preparing for a role in the August Wilson play, “Fences.” 

Bentley can be seen numerous times in the film’s trailer. “The film has a surprise ending,” he said. “It’s funny, it’s suspenseful! I think the audience will enjoy it.”