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Benedict Cumberbatch’s Health Issues Filming ‘The Power Of The Dog’




Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he suffered nicotine poisoning during filming. 

For his upcoming role in The Power of the Dog, an adaption of Thomas Savage‘s western novel, Benedict is transformed into Phil Burbank, a charismatic ranch owner.

According to the novel, Benedict’s character is multi-skilled: “a great reader, a taxidermist, skilled at braiding rawhide and horsehair, a solver of chess problems, a smith and metalworker, a collector of arrowheads (even fashioning arrowheads himself with greater skill than any Indian)”

“…a banjo player, a fine writer, a builder of hay-stacking beaver-slide derricks, a vivid conversationalist.”


To prepare for the role, Benedict learnt similar skills that Phil equipped, and stayed in character.

“If someone forgot, on the first day, and called me Benedict, I wouldn’t move,” he said.

His character smoked a large amount of cigarettes that were “perfectly rolled with one-hand.”


In an interview with Esquire, Benedict told the publication that he also learnt how to do so, and smoked just as much.

“That was really hard,” he says. “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.”

Not only did his health suffer, but his hygiene too. Cumberbatch‘s character did not wash due to deep-rooted past reasonings, so Benedict followed.

“I wanted that layer of stink on me. 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 and stuff. I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living.”


Directed by Jane Campion, the film looks to be an interesting examination of toxic masculinity, homophobia, and sexual frustration.

The film will be available to watch November 19.

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