John Eric Bentley is an American actor and voice actor who voices Barret Wallace in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Prior to this, he also provided additional voices in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and Mobius Final Fantasy. Outside of the Final Fantasy series, John Eric Bentley has had numerous roles in video games, including the Kingdom Hearts series, as well as various other forms of media.
John Eric Bentley was born August 31, 1969 and raised in the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. He grew up as both an avid gamer and a skilled athlete, playing American football for the University of Minnesota where he attended their Master of Fine Arts program, and went onto have a decades-long career in acting and voice acting while starting a family. In his career, he is best known for voicing Nicky Fury in various Marvel Comics animated shows and video games, Tiger's Eye in the Sailor Moon series, though he has also had roles in numerous other films, movies, series, and video games.
Having played games since owning an Atari 2600 as a child, John Eric Bentley played the original Final Fantasy VII in 1997 when it released. He began enjoying role-playing games as a result, and appreciated the games' inclusion of Barret, being a Black character who was a leader and was not the first to die.
Final Fantasy series
John Eric Bentley's first work in the series was in recording additional voices for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in 2014, and later for Mobius Final Fantasy in 2016. Though Barret appeared in the 2015 PlayStation Experience trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake, it featured the voice of Beau Billingslea, who had previously voiced Barret in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children before John Eric Bentley was cast.
Bentley was called by his agent about the role of Barret, not revealing the game's title, though Bentley pieced together it was Final Fantasy VII. When cast as Barret in Final Fantasy VII Remake, Bentley did not rely solely on his knowledge of the original game, but made sure to do his own research into the character in to do Barret justice. Though he did not record with the other main cast present, he later met Briana White at a Kupocon fan event in 2019 in Vancouver, where his encouragement helped her overcome her anxieties of being a first-time voice actress.
Bentley was caught off-guard when having to record Barret's brief death by the hands of Sephiroth during "Deliverance from Chaos". When he first saw the scene, he was shocked, knowing that the scene had not occurred in the original, and needed a minute before recording, uncertain of his future. He was then relieved to learn that Barret's death was temporary.
John Eric Bentley focused on positive Black representation, very aware of the concerns people had about the character, and feeling great pressure to represent his culture and community. As such, he aimed to avoid having Barret be portrayed as a caricature or stereotype of an "angry Black man". In doing so, Bentley drew from his own experiences in life, study, research and knowledge of the original game, to depict Barret as being multi-faceted. For certain scenes, Bentley prepared harder to bring compassion and empathy to Barret on top of being a strong and boisterous leader.
Final Fantasy roles
|Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII||2014||Additional voices|
|Mobius Final Fantasy||2016||Additional voices|
|Final Fantasy VII Remake||2020||Barrett Wallace|
|Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade||2021||Barrett Wallace|
- John Eric Bentley - Biography. IMDb. Accessed May 26, 2021. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021.
- Jeff de Leon (September 17, 2020). The Story of John Bentley, the Voice of Barret in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Part One.. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021.
- Rollin Bishop (November 29, 2020). Final Fantasy 7 Remake: John Eric Bentley on Voicing Barret, Stereotypes, and the Victory Fanfare. Comic Book. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021.
- Sam Chandler (April 20, 2020). John Eric Bentley on creating a voice for Barret Wallace in Final Fantasy 7 remake. Shack News. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020.
- Jeff de Leon (December 16, 2020). The Story of John Bentley, the Voice of Barret in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Part One.. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021.
- Jeff de Leon (April 10, 2020). The Story of Briana White: Conquering Fear as the New Voice of Aerith in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021.
- Final FanTV (November 15, 2020). John Eric Bentley (Barret Wallace FFVIIR) - FINAL PODCAST IV-2. Final FanTV. YouTube.