Benedict Cumberbatch is receiving waves of applause for his acting on ‘The Power Of The Dog.’ He dedicates this performance to his fellow cast members and most importantly to the director Jane Campion. ‘The Power Of The Dog’ is being nominated and receiving awards left, right, and center. Benedict Cumberbatch has received a BAFTA and Oscar nomination for his role, while Jane Campion is swaying awards ceremonies with her best director wins, the most recent being the Best Director at the New York Film Critics Awards.
How Did Benedict Cumberbatch React To Jane Campion’s Directorial Process?
Above all these awards and nominations comes the process of making a film, a film truer to yourself more than anyone else. In the audiences’ opinion, Jane Campion and Benedict Cumberbatch have achieved a certain level of truth that needed to be exposed, not in a political way but in a humane way. Benedict Cumberbatch recently discussed his prepping for this role with Deadline.
‘It’s a very weird relationship watching yourself, if you do it at all. But there’s no way I’m not going to watch this. It’s a Jane Campion film.’ Cumberbatch said about the director being in-charge of the film positively. ‘I’d have to watch it for that alone. Even if I was f***ing it up left, right and center, I’d still watch it because of her. And the fact is, I’m sat there watching it, and for the first time, I could get over some of the self-consciousness because everything I’d intended to give her, the best of what I’d intended for her, she’d realized. She’d seen me.’ Benedict Cumberbatch said about the role that Jane Campion played in flourishing his character and understanding who he was.
How Did Benedict Cumberbatch Prepare For His Role?
Of course, it isn’t easy playing a hypermasculine guy riddled with thoughts and expressions of homosexuality. That too, in a place which is known for its conventional-ism and traditionalism. Benedict had to go through a lot of changes in his lifestyle and had to learn a lot of new things to prepare for this role.
‘Jane knew that I would get there. I think she knew that side of things was fine. I think I was the one who was more anxious about being authentically of that time and place and that skill set and learning how to rope and ride and steer cattle. To learn all of it, to practice some of it, and to just take into my body and observe it, as well as do it.’ Benedict Cumberbatch said about the depth of skills and learning that he needed to acquire to truly portray the character’s caricature.
‘Because of course, like all these things that feel far away from you, they’re not actually central to the performance. There’s not that much of that in the film, but where it does matter, it’s very prevalent. And yeah. And then, from there, to just journey into the revelation of him, as the story unfolds, and the layers of his character come off and is exposed in every way. That, I was never frightened of.’ He then points out the prevalence of small gestures and habits that make up a person and how they affect the narrative.
But that’s not it, Benedict Cumberbatch has been an emotional person onscreen. He likes to swim around the length and breadth of emotions, as he did in ‘The Imitation Game’. Speaking of his films, he portrayed a similar but softer character in ‘August: Osage County’. He wasn’t a well-known actor at that time, but he did craft his character masterfully. On his emotional depth in ‘The Power of the Dog’, Benedict points out:
‘for me, it was a real key into understanding who this person was fundamentally, that these two things existed in him, this very strong front of masculinity for your own machismo. And this sensuality, this ability to be very fluid and delicate with his hands, which are described in the book as having an intelligence in the pads of their fingers. And so, let alone the fact that he has within his psyche this deep, deep-seated lack of authentic self, this inability to express a side of him, which has been utterly crushed by society, by the tragedy of losing [his lover and mentor] Bronco Henry in a corral stampede when he was 19, and the arrested development and everything else that turns him and his defensiveness against the world before it could discover who he is, in that regard.’
So, overall, Benedict Cumberbatch has deserved all the nominations that he is getting. Some fans might not be happy that he lost the BAFTA to Will Smith for his role in ‘King Richard’, but an actor’s worth isn’t winning or losing an award, it’s portraying the reality in its truest form. On the other hand, Campion’s having a party, she is winning the Best Director in almost every major award show.