Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst revealed they didn't speak to each other while filming The Power of the Dog in order to channel the animosity between their characters.
"I didn't want to be really mean to Kirsten, but I needed to stay in character," Cumberbatch told NME. "So I didn't speak to her on-set. She was the same. We were the negative to each other's positive. [We were] repelled by each other."
Dunst also opened up about their decision to ignore each other on the film's set during a roundtable discussion hosted by THR, saying, "Benedict and I decided not to speak to each other on set."
"And there were times when I just didn’t talk at all during the day," she continued. "When you haven't talked all day and then you speak your first words to somebody, it just gives you that lump in your throat and that feeling of crushing insecurity."
The actor added that being ignored by her co-star "brought up old feelings of being young and overanalyzing things," explaining, "It was this really painful, sad place to live in. When you've overcome all these things as a person, to go back and live in it — it wasn't fun."
In addition to being a jerk on set, Cumberbatch revealed earlier this month he poisoned himself while trying to get into character. "That was really hard... Filterless rollies, just take after take after take," the actor recalled of smoking real tobacco while filming. "I gave myself nicotine poisoning three times. When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible."
Cumberbatch also shared that he took his method acting to the next level by doing away with good hygiene during the course of filming. "I wanted that layer of stink on me," Cumberbatch explained. "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, the director] and stuff. I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living."
Written and directed by Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog is based on Tom Savage's 1967 novel of the same name. Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank, whose decision to treat his brother's new wife Rose (Dunst) cruelly ultimately drives her to drink. Rose's husband George Burbank is portrayed in the film by Dunst's real-life partner Jesse Plemons, while Kodi Smit-McPhee portrays Rose's son Peter.
The Power of the Dog is in select theaters and starts streaming on Netflix Dec. 1. Cumberbatch will also reprise the role of Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which hits theaters on Dec. 17.
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Source: NME, THR
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