Benedict Cumberbatch and Kristen Dunst are getting some of the best reviews of their respective careers for their performances in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog — and they never spoke to each other on set.
In the Netflix film, Cumberbatch plays Phil Burbank, a cruel rancher who torments his brother’s wife, Rose (Dunst). “I didn’t want to be really mean to Kirsten, but I needed to stay in character,” he 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.”
Method acting isn’t for everyone, but it worked for Cumberbatch (who gave himself nicotine poisoning three times) and Dunst: The Power of the Dog has a near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score (94 percent “Fresh” rating) and has been called one of the best movies of the year by multiple publications, including Slate and IndieWire.
Here’s the official plot summary:
A domineering but charismatic rancher wages a war of intimidation on his brother’s new wife and her teen son — until long-hidden secrets come to light.
The Power of the Dog, which also stars Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, and Frances Conroy, is out in theaters now and hits Netflix on December 1. You can watch the trailer below.