Benedict Cumberbatch avoided showering for ‘Power of the Dog’: ‘I had a biohazard zone around me’

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Benedict Cumberbatch Smells like a champ.

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British actor has been praised for his performance as a ferocious cowboy “Dog Power” Most Oscar pundits predicted that he would earn his second nomination for Best Actor (after 2014) “fake game”,

But when he first arrived on the New Zealand set of a 1920s western (in theaters, streaming Wednesday) Netflix), Cumberbatch avoided any actual bathing as a means of getting into character. Jane Campion, the director of the film initially encouraged it.


“My family had yet to come and I thought, ‘I’m just going to go for it,'” Cumberbatch recalls. “But then he invited me over for sushi or a walk and I was literally leaving—there was a biohazard zone around me. It wasn’t a good time to hug Cumberbatch and take a selfie.”

Review:Benedict Cumberbatch stuns as a ferocious cowboy in Jane Campion’s ‘Power of the Dog’

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Although the “No Showers” experiment was short-lived, he told the wardrobe department not to wash his costumes: “Every now and then, they’ll spray them with a little bit of alcohol so they don’t become infested with lice, but I’ll give them all kinds of lice. The weather was peeling.”

For Cumberbatch, 45, he was a big part of connecting with the “wonderfully sensual” and “animal nature” of Phil Burbank, a volatile rancher who works with his meek brother, George (Jesse Plemons). When George meets and marries a philanthropic widow named Rose (Kirsten Dunst), Phil is consumed by jealousy. He begins to relentlessly belittle the newlyweds and Rose’s sensitive teenage son, Peter (Cody Smit-McPhee), who forms an unlikely relationship with his harasser.

“(Phil’s) behavior is aggressive and disgusting, but there is a taste of vulnerability,” Cumberbatch says. “This woman comes into her brother’s life and she sees her brother shining with love, and she can’t stand it. Comes.”

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After the initial tension, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch, left) and Peter (Cody Smit-McPhee)

The slow-burn drama, adapted from Thomas Savage’s 1967 book, wrestles with powerful themes of toxic masculinity, gaslighting, and repressed desire. Phil bitterly watches from afar while his fellow Roughhouse, bathing together and chasing prostitutes to a local saloon. Campion slowly reveals that Phil is mourning a lost relationship.

“Jane’s script really makes you lean in and look at a man who has been unable to love or be loved in his lifetime,” Cumberbatch says. “He’s a sad person.”

In his novel, “Savage explores the weaknesses in Alpha and the complexity behind who Phil really is: the mystery he was supposed to hold and how he was not allowed to share his origins,” Campion says.

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The filmmakers remember seeing Cumberbatch’s charismatic leading turns in the TV series “Sherlock” and “Patrick Melrose” and knowing he would have the “big personality” and “emotional tenderness” needed to contain Phil. He also liked that the London native was not the obvious choice to play a gruesome Montana cowboy.

“I thought about the person who would have the hardest time doing it,” jokes Campion. “But it’s true that if you give an actor a great challenge, it’s almost like they dig deeper to meet that challenge, even more so than if they think, ‘Oh, I get it. Is.’ We all knew it wasn’t in his back pocket, but he has great acting skills.”

Cumberbatch learned a variety of new skills during the making of “Dog”, including playing the banjo, tying a rope, taming animals and smoking a cigarette with one hand. He also practiced whistling, which Phil uses to scare Rose as he enters or leaves a room.

“It took a long time and a lot of patience from the people around me, especially my family,” says Cumberbatch, who has three “extraordinarily beautiful, extraordinary” children with his wife, the theater director. Sophie Hunter (Kit, 6, Hal, 4, and Finn, who will be 3 in January).

"As long as the character is interesting and challenging and is doing great things in the MCU, why not?"  Benedict Cumberbatch talks about his future as Doctor Strange.

The actor is currently in the middle of shooting for next year “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Which marks his second standalone Marvel film and sixth film as the magical Dr. Stephen Strange. He is well trained not to give any details about the upcoming “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (in theaters 17 December).

“You know it’s a dead end, but I can tell you this: It’s a riotous movie,” Cumberbatch says with a grin. “I don’t want to pay anything – and I haven’t actually read the whole script! I did it intentionally because I just wanted a ride.”

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