In the new Netflix movie “The Power of the Dog,” Benedict Cumberbatch is a 1920s Montana cowboy who can ride, rope and roll a smoke with the best of them. He’s also a world-class tyrant, who seems to take pleasure in tormenting some of those around him.
The film is both a searing psychological drama and a meditation on toxic masculinity.
On set, and with encouragement from director Jane Campion, Cumberbatch also delved into what it means to be a true cowboy at work.
Correspondent Tracy Smith asked, “Did you fully kiss him, in the sense that you didn’t shower?” “
“Yes. I mean, not for the whole shoot. It would be a little dangerous, I think! Cumberbatch replied.” I might have become biohazardous. But for a whole week and a little bit early in the shoot, at the start of rehearsals, rather, I did, yeah.
“For more than a week?
âYes. And that’s quite something in the 21st century, not to wash off.
He also learned “a ridiculous number” of skills, including whistling.
For the record, it cleans up pretty wellâ¦ and it’s said it could clean at next year’s Oscars as well, which is no surprise to anyone who’s seen it on screens big or small.
The whole world knew Benedict Cumberbatch from the 2010 BBC series “Sherlock”.
Smith said, “You went from active actor to famous actor in the span of, what, 90 minutes roughly?”
âYeah. Yeah, it was kind of like a 12-year-old in 90-minute overnight success.
But it seems he’s been waiting for it all his life.
Born of a couple of active actors, the young Benedict considered for a time studying law, before following his parents on stage. Cumberbatch said: “They gave me a very safe education and gave me every opportunity with my upbringing, with their education of me, with love and lots of resources, to give me the choice to do no. whatever corn to be an actor, to do something a little more certain, less ambiguous. And I sent everything back to them by becoming an actor!
He managed to make them proud, and they let him know very early on.
âAnd there was that moment in a parking lot after I played Salieri in ‘Amadeus’ in college. Dad sort of grabbed my shoulders and said, ‘Look, you’re better than I’ve ever been or ever will be. And I support you, and I can’t wait to see what you do.
“I mean, yeah, every time I say that I say – my throat is tied. It’s so huge for a man to tell his son, or for any parent to tell no any kid. And just to give that level of blessing, that egoless love, it overwhelmed me. And that, and making them both really proud, is kind of an essential ingredient in what motivates me on a daily basis. .
Cumberbatch received an Oscar for “The Imitation Game”, as a British mathematician who helped crack the Nazis’ secret code. But lately he’s been playing a different kind of hero, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Smith asked, “Were you at all afraid, coming just from acting and theater work, were you at all afraid of playing a Marvel role?”
“In which way?”
“In the sense that he’s a comic book hero -“
âMainstream, entertainment, mast, popular? No, âhe replied.
“Not at all?”
âNot really. But I still think he needs integrity. Someone has to put a lot of effort into trying to pretend, here and now, storytelling work in the moment.
Cumberbatch extended his storytelling powers with a production company. They made this year’s film about a Victorian artist who paints cats, “The Electric Life of Louis Wain”.
But as a father of three young children with his wife Sophie Hunter, he says he’s more selective about what he does.
âThe priorities that I have in my life, there is nothing like my family in my professional life,â he said. âSo whatever the job, which is huge, it gives me a lot of life experience and opportunities, nothing, as anyone who has kids knows, compares to that. “
“No. Not really. It must be very, very interesting for me to leave the house.
Of course, in comedy, as in life, the most interesting undertakings are often the most difficult. Playing a cruel cowboy was both a physical and an emotional hill to climb. But Benedict Cumberbatch sees it all as a gift:
âYou know, the gratitude that you can do what you do, that you love to do, for a living, it’s justâ¦ I’m still pinching myself on that. Don’t tell the producers, because they’ll probably come to me with lower bids! But it’s the truth. It’s like, what a concert! What an amazing way to live a life.
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Story produced by John D’Amelio. Publisher: Mike Levine.