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Benedict Cumberbatch on how his new rancher skills helped a family in real life

Benedict Cumberbatch on The Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)
Benedict Cumberbatch on The Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)

Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed he deployed his new-found cattle wrangling skills which he learnt for his recent western film in real life to help a family who were stuck in a field due to a herd of cows.

The 45-year-old actor has recently been nominated for an Oscar for his performance as gritty rancher Phil Burbank in Jane Campion’s dark western The Power Of The Dog.

Cumberbatch has previously said he picked up many activities so he could fully embody the character including playing the banjo, riding a horse and chain-smoking so much that he gave himself nicotine poisoning three times.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix © 2021)
Cumberbatch stars as Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix/PA)

The Sherlock star told The Graham Norton Show: “I came back from shooting the film in August and we were off to the beach.

“To get there we had to cross a field and in the field was a petrified family who just couldn’t move, they were frozen because of a herd of cows with calves.

“I thought, ‘I can do this’, and I just sort of parted the waves of cattle.

“The family was like, ‘That was incredible. Hey, aren’t you Sherlock?’ It was very un-Sherlock activity!”

The actor said that Campion had encouraged him to stay in character and to do what he needed to feel like he could accurately play the role, which led to him living on a ranch for two months.

He explained: “She was very secure about all the things I was insecure about and said, ‘Do whatever you have to do to feel ownership of this very different lived experience’.

“So, I went off to Montana for two months to find out what it is like to live on a ranch and to experience all those things you see in the film.

“It was incredible and so far from anything I have ever done.”

The psychological western also stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as timid young man Peter, as well as Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons.

It has enjoyed great award success so far and recently earned 12 Oscar nominations including best picture, best director, best actor for Cumberbatch, best supporting actress for Dunst and best supporting actor for both Plemons and Smit-McPhee.

Discussing the upcoming awards ceremony, Cumberbatch said: “Whatever happens on the night, the whole raft of those nominations are so richly deserved and obviously I am thrilled that the four of us as a cast are nominated.

“We are going to be awesome on that dancefloor – it’s going to be great no matter what happens.”

Graham Norton Show – London
Benedict Cumberbatch during filming for The Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)

Cumberbatch also recently reprised his role as Doctor Strange in the latest Marvel Universe offering – Spider-Man: No Way Home – which has dominated at the box office.

The film saw the three actors who have all played Peter Parker – Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire – all come together for the first time.

Reflecting on the response to the film, Cumberbatch said: “It is incredible – there was a lot riding on it, so they threw everything at it, and it’s been a phenomenal success.”

The Graham Norton Show will air on February 25 on BBC One at 10.35pm and will be available on BBC iPlayer.

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