In the new film helmed by Jane Campion, Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank, a cruel and misogynistic rancher. Dunst portrays Rose Gordon, a kind-hearted widow who marries Phil’s brother, George (played by Jesse Plemons).
Speaking to NME, Cumberbatch revealed that he took a more method approach to his latest role.
“I didn’t want to be really mean to Kirsten, but I needed to stay in character,” he said. “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.”
In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Dunst also stated that there were periods when she would avoid speaking on set completely: “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.”
“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. It brought up old feelings of being young and overanalysing things. It was this really painful, sad place to live in.”
The Power of the Dog arrives on Netflix on December 1, 2021.