Jane Campion-directed Netflix film The Power of the Dog has garnered plenty of praise at the Venice Film Festival where the filmmaker won the Best Director award. Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the main leads in the film gushed over Campion’s calibre at the Toronto Film Festival ahead of the film’s December 1st, 2021 release.
Based on Thomas Savage’s novel, starring an ensemble cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee and more, the film is set in the 1920s Montana ranch where Phil and George Burbank are wealthy rancher brothers.
While talking to Deadline, Cumberbatch opened up about their collaboration. “She’s amazingly smart because she’s not in a vacuum and she’s an incredible storyteller.” He added, “She really knows how to signal what something might be and what not be and she knows how to reveal something.”
He lauded her for having the innate power to push actors and bring out the very best in them. “When you’re filming, you have to push what the other actor is doing to a side, for a degree, because you have blind spots as a character,” said the Sherlock Holmes actor. “Yet Jane is inclusive, she’s not doing stuff in smoke screens. You have to walk into the actual shooting of it forgetting what the overall audience is thinking of it is so you are completely clued into what your character’s reality is.”
Cumberbatch plays the role of the cruel and demonic Phil Burbank who continuously torments and taunts his brother’s wife and emotionally triggers her as well as her teenage son Peter, before unexpectedly finding love.
Cumberbatch owes his innate and intricate understanding of the complicated character to Campion’s attention to detail and patience in explaining what she expected of him. She laid out the roadmap for him to proceed with the struggles of Phil and his relationship with others in the film which made it an easy job for Cumberbatch to carry out.
The Dr. Strange star spoke of how he understood Phil Burbank as a character who was subjected to “alienation” that brings about immense “psychological” changes that prevent him from being his “authentic self”. He concluded by saying, “It’s a very old but traditional way of doing things.”
The teaser of the film was released recently and sets the premise for a harrowing Western thriller.
Watch it below: