Entertainment

Benedict Cumberbatch shares thoughts on portraying repressed gay character in 'The Power of the Dog'

ANI | October 03, 2021 05:24 PM
Benedict Cumberbatch

Washington [US], October 3 (ANI): Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch recently opened up about his role in 'The Power of the Dog', the film which explores themes of sexual repression and toxic masculinity.

In the upcoming Western movie set in 1967, Cumberbatch has starred as a grizzly cattle rancher who unexpectedly falls for the young son of a widow, played by Kirsten Dunst, who recently moved to his ranch. The character grapples with his sexuality in an era and place that emphasizes binary gender roles and expectations.

"He had this burning love affair in his youth, which wasn't tolerated, which wasn't allowed, couldn't be spoken of and the tragedy of that is what twists him into this sort of form of masculine toxicity," the British actor told reporters of his character at the New York Film Festival premiere on Friday, according to People magazine.

Cumberbatch explained that the character's toxic masculinity made him project "hate on the world, and for the world, hate on him, and I think his sense of loneliness is exacerbated by that and his sense of jealousy."

Of the time period, the star said, "I think it speaks to a time of intolerance and a lack of acceptance where people couldn't live any kind of their authentic self."

"[Queer men] had to bury that and cloak it in masculinity, which while not necessarily inherent on the face of it, became so," he continued.

Cumberbatch also said his character's feelings about his sexuality are more complex than "self-hatred."

"I don't think he's disgusted with himself, he has privacy, he has moments of recollection; he communes with his memory, but I don't think he knows any different. It's so hard for us to view it through his lens, that's the trickiness of it," the actor explained.

Cumberbatch, who is straight and has previously played a gay character, faced increased scrutiny for this role. The actor previously played mathematician Alan Turing, a gay man, in 2014's 'The Imitation Game'.

Earlier this month, while speaking regarding 'The Power of the Dog', at the Telluride Film Festival, he said, "I feel very sensitive about representation, diversity, and inclusion. One of the appeals of the job was the idea that in this world, with this specific character, there was a lot that was private, hidden from view." Cumberbatch added, "It wasn't done without thought."

The actor ultimately said during the press conference that scrutiny about his casting should be addressed with director Jane Campion who "chose us as actors to play those roles." Cumberbatch said, "That's her question to answer."

As per People magazine, 'The Power of the Dog' will be hitting the silver screens on November 17, followed by Netflix on December 1. (ANI)

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