The Power of the Dog premiere: On the red carpet with Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Kodi-Smit McPhee at London Film Festival 2021
The Power of the Dog is auteur Jane Campion’s take on a Western starring an almost unrecognisable Benedict Cumberbatch, who delivers a career-best performance as a menacing, gaslighting cowboy, alongside the brilliant Kirsten Dunst and her real-life partner Jesse Plemons. Adapted from a 1960s novel by Thomas Savage that was considered ahead of its time, it’s the director’s first feature film in over a decade and has already won her recognition in the form of the Silver Bear for direction at the Venice Film Festival.
The Upcoming had the pleasure of chatting with the cast on the red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival 2021 for the UK premiere.
Cumberbatch shared his excitement ahead of the movie premiering in his hometown of London, with his friends and family set to be amongst the audience, and what it was like playing a nasty character: “Fun! Permission to not worry too much about what people think about me and not apologise too much – and I have a propensity to do that as myself. But Jane gave me full permission to be him from dusk till dawn. And I needed to – it’s quite a far reach for me, this entire character and this whole world.” He also gave his reaction to whispers of being in contention for an Academy Award.
Dunst shared what it was like working alongside Cumberbatch, who reportedly stayed in character on-and-off set throughout the shoot, and how she admired Campion as a director before working on the movie: “I mean, it was a dream of mine for a long time. She wrote to me in my 20s about working together and it never happened, so to have it come around again in my life – it’s a dream to work with Jane.”
We also spoke with Kodi Smit-McPhee about his character’s ambiguity, the two-week boot camp of rehearsals he and the rest of the cast did ahead of shooting and why he wanted to work with Campion: “She’s an absolutely masterful filmmaker.”
We heard from cinematographer Ari Wegner, who shared some insight into the way the film was shot on location in New Zealand.
And producer Tanya Seghatchian explained how she thought the novel the movie was adapted from was ahead of its time: “It’s an absolute masterpiece of fiction but in the hands of Jane Campion I hope it’s a masterpiece of cinema too. It’s a great tale about four phenomenal characters, all of whom have secrets that they’re having to hide, and the way they intermingle with one another unfolds into a very taut psychological drama.”
Videos: Marta Starczynowska
The Power of the Dog is released on Netflix on 17th November 2021. Read our review here.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for The Power of the Dog here: