The actor, who will portray chain-smoking ranch owner Phil Burbank in the Netflix film, told Esquire UK that his dedication to the role meant he took up smoking – but with some serious health implications.
WATCH: See the trailer for new Netflix movie The Power of the Dog starring Benedict Cumberbatch
"[Smoking] was really hard," he told the publication. "Filterless rollies, just take after take after take. I gave myself nicotine poisoning three times. When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible."
Although the Doctor Strange star's health suffered as a result of his method acting, Benedict maintained it was essential to the role's essence and stressed how he wanted to submerge himself in the character both in front of and away from the camera.
"I wanted that layer of stink on me. I wanted people in the room to know what I smelt like," he continued. "It was hard, though. It wasn't just in rehearsals. I was going out to eat and meet friends of [director] Jane [Champion] and stuff."
Will you be watching The Power of the Dog?
The upcoming film is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage. It tells the story of Benedict's character, Phil, who runs a ranch with his brother, George. After George meets and falls in love with a widow named Rose, she and her son Peter move onto the ranch – but Phil eventually finds himself falling in love.
The synopsis explains further: "Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love."
Starring alongside Benedict is Jesse Plemons as his brother George, while Jesse's real-life wife, Kirsten Dunst, will portray his on-screen love-interest, Rose. Playing the part of Rose's son, Peter, is Kodi Smit-McPhee. Also appearing in the film is Thomas McKenzie, Frances Conroy, Adam Beach, Peter Carroll and more.
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