Benedict Cumberbatch gave himself nicotine poisoning three times on The Power of the Dog | Movies

Benedict Cumberbatch said he ‘gave'[himself] nicotine poisoning three times” by smoking cigarettes as part of his performance in his new movie The Power of the Dog.

Speaking to Esquire magazine, Cumberbatch said his role as Phil Burbank in the adaptation of Thomas Savage’s western novel required the consumption of large quantities of rolled cigarettes. “Filterless rollies, just take after take after take… If you have to smoke a lot, it’s really terrible.” Cumberbatch also said he needed to learn how to roll them with one hand, as specified in the original novel.

Elsewhere in the interview, Cumberbatch explained how much effort he put into preparing for the role, equipping himself with the skills his character, a 1920s Montana ranch owner, possessed. He learned hardware, made a horseshoe as a gift for the film’s director, Jane Campion, and woodworking, which involved carving a set of miniature wooden furniture.

Like his character, Cumberbatch said he didn’t wash himself. “I wanted to have that low stench on me. I wanted the people in the room to know what I smelled like. It was difficult. It wasn’t just during rehearsals. I went out for dinner and met friends of Jane’s and stuff. I was a bit ashamed of the cleaner, in the place where I lived.”

And, in true method acting style, Cumberbatch said he stopped responding to his real name. “If someone forgot… and called me Benedict, I wouldn’t move.”

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