The Power of the Dog Film Premiere

Benedict Cumberbatch Gets Nicotine Poisoning While Filming 'The Power Of The Dog'

Home / Stars / Benedict Cumberbatch Gets Nicotine Poisoning While Filming 'The Power Of The Dog'

By Alisan Duran on November 10, 2021 at 2:17 PM EST

Benedict Cumberbatch has some shocking revelations!

The English actor, 45, talked about his role in his new film "The Power Of The Dog" in a recent interview with Esquire Magazine published earlier today. During the chat, he detailed how he got nicotine poisoning -- not once, but three times -- while filming.

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Diving Into The Role

The Power of the Dog UK Premiere 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 11 2021 in London England

In the Westen movie directed by Jane Campion, the "Doctor Strange" actor portrays the role of a ranch owner named Phil Burbank, a known chain-smoker and someone who doesn't care much for his hygiene.

“I wanted that layer of stink on me. I wanted people in the room to know what I smelt like," Cumberbatch explained while getting into his character.

While he did it for acting purposes, he still felt ashamed saying, "It was hard, though. It wasn’t just in rehearsals. I was going out to eat and meet friends of Jane and stuff. I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living.”

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Becoming A Smoker

On top of the body odor, Cumberbatch had to smoke a lot of cigarettes for the role, which made his health suffer.

“That was really hard,” he told the publication. “Filterless rollies, just take after take after take. I gave myself nicotine poisoning three times. When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible.”

In a report by Economic Times, Cumberbatch quit smoking in 2014. According to him, kicking the bad habit made him healthier.

"I've given up smoking," he said in a past interview. "Although I shouldn't say that, because if I ever have a cigarette again and it'll be all over the place, 'Oh he lied.' But, touch wood, I haven't smoked for a month now and it's really helping."

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Work Don't Stop

Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter smiling.

Through the pandemic, the "Sherlock" star had been very busy with work -- shooting his upcoming films, including "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Cumberbatch revealed that because of lockdown, the Marvel movie was almost entirely filmed in a studio in Surrey. To keep the cast and crew healthy, the actor said, "They would test us every other day and temperature test every day when we came in. If you had any cold or cough or were feeling under the weather, they were very on it."

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During The Pandemic


Compared to the usual filming conditions pre-pandemic, Cumberbatch said that "the work environment was pretty grim compared to the norm, everyone zoned and masked. It was hard graft. But there was a lot of appreciation for how lucky we were. Five hundred-plus crew members coming back and all testing negative at Christmas. The dedication was admirable."

As for "The Power Of The Dog," the set began shooting in New Zealand early last year. Due to the rising infections, production had to be shut down until June.

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“We weren’t turning on our television every day or looking at our phones for news feeds. It was not a growing concern,” Cumberbatch said. “Then when we got to Auckland it was, like, ‘Oh. It’s not just that it’s not crazy here. It’s actually crazy everywhere you need to get to, to get home.’”

"The Power Of The Dog" will begin streaming on Netflix on December 1, but it will also have a limited theatrical release on November 17.

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