Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘Angry, toxic masculine character traits’ are everywhere

Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst attend the red carpet of the movie 'The Power of the Dog' during the 78th Venice International Film Festival

The New York Times did a very lovely profile of Benedict Cumberbatch this week, to help him promote The Power of the Dog and The Electric Life of Louis Wain. That’s right, we’re being gifted with another Bendy Oscar Campaign! Hopefully, this one will go a little bit differently than the one he waged in 2014-15 for The Imitation Game, which featured a surprise pregnancy and engagement, Jaguar sponcon and Benedict giving easily twenty million interviews. It was a bonkers time. Nowadays he’s a father of three boys, a husband to Sophie Hunter(batch) and he seemingly has his pick of posh characters. But in The Power of the Dog, he plays a toxic American cowboy in 1925. You can read the full NYT piece here. Some highlights:

His character in The Power of the Dog: “He behaves abhorrently, but there is a deep well of pain there, this life not lived, an arrested development that informs the way he behaves. If we don’t understand the monsters in our world, what motivates this behavior, if we can’t look at someone beyond being a baddie or a goody, then we’re in trouble.”

Being a husband & father: “I fit a lot of very boring brackets in my personal description. I am drawn to the otherness of these people, to the difference from my lived experience. I want to understand it from the inside, not go, ‘Oh, I know what that feels like.’”

The fame from Sherlock: “The fame thing was very acute afterwards. For a while it’s what I was known for and I’m grateful for it. But did it overtake my life? Is that what I’m chiefly recognized for? I don’t think so anymore.” On the possibility of playing Sherlock again: “We never say never about doing it again.”

What he needed for ‘Dog’: “I need whittling lessons, I need riding lessons, I need banjo lessons, I need dude camp.” He spent several weeks on Montana ranches. “An amazing way of life opened up for me. Pretty much everything I do in the film, I learned to do…braiding rope, working with the cattle, castrating — braiding rope while smoking a cigarette, incredibly difficult! I did things like not washing for a week, getting up at all hours to tend to the animals, muck out stables, put together every part of the saddle. I needed it to be like second nature.”

Why ‘Dog’ is important: “[It] is that it still bears relevance. There are still angry, toxic masculine character traits writ large in world leaders of late, let alone other kinds of domestic abuse or abhorrent male behaviors.” It’s important, he added, that “we are getting to a place where women are being heard. But we should also be looking at men; why are men like this?”

[From The NY Times]

“But did it overtake my life? Is that what I’m chiefly recognized for? I don’t think so anymore.” Who wants to tell him? I’m an old-school Cumberbitch and even I mostly think about him as “Sherlock.” I appreciate the fact that he’s not slamming the character or belittling what made him famous because a lot of people still love that series. As for the dude stuff with Dog… this is another version of the “I suffered so much on this film” Oscar campaign. This is “I completely got out of my comfort zone and became an entirely different person and learned all of these new skills” Oscar campaign. Which I prefer – that IS acting! More so than wearing prosthetics and complaining about it for six months.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Netflix.

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21 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘Angry, toxic masculine character traits’ are everywhere”

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  1. Bettyrose says:

    I really hate him in American redneck roles. I can’t name the others but there’s at least two where he attempts an American uneducated twang and it’s painful.

  2. Knish says:

    TBH first thing I think of is Dr Strange… and I loved Sherlock, too

  3. Eve says:

    My p*ssy, just now (to me):

    “Were you f*cking serious back then? This guy?”.

    • Bettyrose says:


    • Lightpurple says:

      I just choked!

      I never could understand what any of you saw in him but the daily posts were hilarious.

    • Harper says:

      Riiiiiiiight???? My Cumberthirst was so all-consuming for a while, and then it just suddenly…wasn’t. Like a switch was flipped. What kind of witchcraft was that, do you reckon? Haha

      • Eve says:


        I’d love to blame someone else (e.g.: Kaiser — but she’s responsible for some part of it). The rest — and most of it — is on me.

        And just like you, it was like a switch had been flipped. And I woke up.

    • Blueskies says:

      He was seriously magnetic in Sherlock! It was largely due to his hair and voice, though, haha. He played it really well, perfect casting. I first watched him in Small Island. I started to follow him less closely when he went for the flashier American roles. I’ll always have time for him and remember the Cumberfest 800+ comments posts of yore. 😄

    • House of No says:

      LOL! Mine too!

  4. FluglyBear says:

    This is definitely an Oscar nod for Benedict Cumerbatch. I read the book which twists at the very end into another direction and you’ll be wanting to re-watch the movie again. All the characters are very strong I can’t wait to see the chemistry between everyone.

  5. Belli says:

    Wow, this dude was everywhere a few years ago and I’d completely forgotten he existed. I feel like I’ve time travelled to 2013.

    And yeah, sorry Bendy but you’ll be Sherlock first for almost everyone.

  6. Kviby says:

    His wife’s name is actually Sophie Cumberbatch now. Haven’t seen any stories anywhere about her in so long it seems

  7. Jade says:

    I know him as Dr Strange. I know Sherlock was big but Marvel is huge. I’ve seen him in a couple of other things. He was amazing in Patrick Melrose. I avoided him during the Sherlock era. I never got the hype. I loved Elementary at the time. Cumberbatch sounded like a posh snob to me. But after the Sherlock mania ended I enjoyed him in some stuff.

  8. Dee says:

    My favorite B.C. role will forever be The Man Who Can’t Say “Penguin” — You can find him playing this role in a very fun segment from the Graham Norton Show! 😉

  9. Watcher says:

    I love him but this movie looks emotionally painful and I doubt I’ll see it – all respect to Jane Campion who is a master storyteller, but “threatening man ruins everyone’s lives” stories are not my cup of tea.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Watcher, this does look like it would be tough to watch from an emotional stand point. It was upsetting just to watch the preview, I couldn’t imagine watching an entire movie with this amount of emotion, anxiety and depression. I need something very light, comedic in my life. I just lost my second sibling in 3 months and 5 days.

      • Christine says:

        Oh, God, I am so sorry!

      • Eve says:


        Really sorry to “hear” that, dear.

        And here goes my humble suggestion…a movie called Ghost Town.

        It’s a somewhat fantasy romantic comedy but it deals with matters such as loneliness and the loss of loved ones. It features Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Téa Leoni and Kristen Wiig.

        Very moving. Great soundtrack, too. Definitely NOT your average romantic comedy.

    • ooshpick says:

      I was just thinking that. Especially if it involves a queer character being demeaned. Too painful.