Tom Holland says Benedict Cumberbatch's performance in 'The Power of the Dog' was so convincing that he 'hated' him

On the left: Tom Holland at the premiere of "Spider-Man: No Way Home" in December 2021. On the right: Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Power of the Dog."
  • Tom Holland praised Benedict Cumberbatch's performance in "The Power of the Dog."
  • "For the first time in knowing you, I really hated you," Holland said of his costar's portrayal.
  • "I thought you were horrible and so grotesque and awful," he added.

Tom Holland said that Benedict Cumberbatch's performance in the critically acclaimed drama titled " The Power of the Dog " was so convincing that he "hated" his Marvel costar .

"The film is so shocking and it's so gut-wrenching and the intricacies of your character — I've never seen a character arc quite like it," Holland said while moderating a conversation with Cumberbatch for Netflix Film Club.

Holland and Cumberbatch have known each other for years, through their roles as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Dr. Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange, respectively, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

They've costarred in "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," and most recently, " Spider-Man: No Way Home ."

Holland said that Cumberbatch's role as a fear-inducing rancher named Phil Burbank was a sharp contrast to the actor's real-life personality.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee in "The Power of the Dog."

"Because I know you so well, I think I come from a very privileged standpoint where, when I meet you in the beginning of the film, I'm like, 'Whoa, that's not the Benedict that I know. What on earth is going on here?'" Holland said.

He continued: "For the first time in knowing you, I really hated you. I thought you were horrible and so grotesque and awful. As the film progresses, what I loved about it was that it has these themes of toxic masculinity and gaslighting but it explores the problem rather than the problem just being present. Not that his actions are justified in any way, but you understand why he is the way he is."

Cumberbatch wasn't surprised by Holland's response and described his character's behavior as "repugnant," to the point that some people told him, "I can't watch all of your film. You're so awful."

"I then get the reaction of people that they go back to it, maybe a second time through, or even like you, start off in this position of being repelled and then lean in and see him as what he is really, which is a tragic figure," he said.
Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Power of the Dog."

"The Power of the Dog," directed by Jane Campion, is set in Montana in 1925 and centers on Cumberbatch's cruel ranch owner. The film is based on Thomas Savage's 1967 book of the same name and stars Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jesse Plemons.

Since its release on Netflix in November, the film has received positive reviews and awards show recognition.

At the recent Golden Globes, "The Power of the Dog" won awards for best drama motion picture, best director, and best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture (Smit-McPhee).

Cumberbatch, Dunst, and Smit-McPhee are up for acting awards at the 2022 Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will take place on February 27.

In past interviews, Cumberbatch detailed surprising details about the lengths he went through for his performance.

He told The Hollywood Reporter that he stayed in character for the entire film shoot and spent periods of approximately six days without washing , just as his character does in the movie.

In an interview with Esquire , the actor said that he gave himself nicotine poisoning from smoking so many cigarettes during the duration of filming.

In his interview with Holland, Cumberbatch said that he spent several weeks in Montana — even though the movie was filmed in New Zealand — to prepare for his role.

"The dirt, the feeling of sweat, and smell, and stench, and blood, and sinew and shit, all of that stuff just had to be real," he said.

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Comments / 18


All of the actors in this movie were amazing; I immediately hated the movie. Kirsten Dunst was an over the hill alcoholic. It is a perfect role to get her out of the cutsie rolls. It was so sad and scary and sweet. Yes, it moved slow. The pace was perfect. We are so used to being bombarded by action overload that it's hard to sit quietly and watch characters show what they are thinking. It now goes way up on my movie list. I am glad I saw it.


I watched a movie SWAT, featuring Jeremy Renner, and the character he played seemed so real, I hated him. Even though I knew nothing about him. It just proved to me some actors are really skilled performers.


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