Benedict Cumberbatch gave himself nicotine poisoning on 'The Power of the Dog'

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Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix © 2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog. (Netflix)

Benedict Cumberbatch says he gave himself nicotine poisoning three times while playing an American rancher in his new film.

The actor, 45, told Esquire UK he found the smoking habits of his character Phil Burbank challenging in the new western drama The Power Of The Dog.

The film is Oscar-winning director Jane Campion’s first since 2009's Bright Star and sees Cumberbatch playing a domineering Montana ranch owner.

Read more: Cumberbatch improvised this brilliant Endgame moment

He told Esquire UK: “(Smoking) was really hard. 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.”

(Esquire UK / Simon Emmett)
(Esquire UK / Simon Emmett)

The actor explained that he wanted a “layer of stink” on him to fully embody the character on set, adding: “I wanted people in the room to know what I smelt like.

“It was hard, though. It wasn’t just in rehearsals. I was going out to eat and meet friends of Jane (Campion) and stuff.”

Cumberbatch also discussed how he wanted to become “world-class at the banjo”, admitting that it meant he was “slightly antisocial” on set.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix © 2021)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog. (Netflix)

“I think my primary motivation is that I just really, really enjoy it. And I like the idea that I might be getting better at it,” he added.

Cumberbatch, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Imitation Game, is tipped for a second nod for his role in this film, which also stars Kirsten Dunst and her real-life partner Jesse Plemons.

Read more: New Spider-Man trailer wows fans

The actor is also reprising his title role in the forthcoming sequel of Marvel’s Doctor Strange after its success at the box office.

The title treatment for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney)
The title treatment for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. (Disney)

He admitted he was nervous about the release of the upcoming film Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, which is due out in 2022.

Cumberbatch told Esquire UK: “I’ve got the second album fear with this one, because the first one was such a riotous success and he’s become a much-loved character.”

Spider-Man: Far From Home comes to cinemas on 17 December (Sony Pictures)
Spider-Man: Far From Home comes to cinemas on 17 December. (Sony Pictures)

However, he noted that being a part of the Marvel franchise was surreal, adding: “All the time when you’re making those movies are pinch-yourself moments.

“I’m never over the giddy nature of working opposite Spider-Man. It’s pretty cool.”

The Winter 2021 issue of Esquire UK is on sale now.

The Power Of The Dog will be in select cinemas in November and on Netflix from 1 December. Watch a trailer below.

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