Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t proud of the bad habits he picked up while filming his new Western, The Power of the Dog.
Speaking to Esquire, the British actor admitted he fused with his character, Phil Burbank, a rancher from the 1920s that smoked like a chimney and rarely bathed — two unsavory habits that rubbed off on the actor.
“That was really hard,” Cumberbatch said of having to constantly smoke on camera. “Filterless rollies, just take after take after take.”
The Doctor Strange star said he smoked so much he “gave myself nicotine poisoning three times.”
“When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible,”admitted Cumberbatch.
Bathing was another obstacle, with the 45-year-old revealing, “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,” he continued. “I was going out to eat and meet friends of Jane and stuff,” referring to director Jane Campion. “I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living.”
Benedict became so entrenched in the character of Phil Burbank, he didn’t break from his newfound stinky, smoking persona until filming wrapped. He even adopted an “ominous Montana drawl.”
However, he admits there is one thing he really tried but failed to master.
“I really wanted to become world class at the banjo,” Cumberbatch lamented, “And I’m very much not. I’m very far off.”
The Power of the Dog, also starring Kirsten Dunst, rides into theaters on November 17.
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