Going full Method actor for "The Power of the Dog" paid off for Benedict Cumberbatch in his real life. The actor, who earned an Oscar nomination thanks to his role in the Jane Campion-directed drama, revealed on BBC's "Graham Norton Show" (via Insider) that he saved a family from a cattle herd by using the ranching skills he acquired from playing cowboy Phil Burbank in "The Power of the Dog." Cumberbatch was at the beach in the United Kingdom shortly after arriving back home from the film's New Zealand production.
"I came back from shooting the film in August, and we were off to the beach," Cumberbatch said. "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."
Cumberbatch continued, "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!"
To prepare for "The Power of the Dog," Cumberbatch learned ranching skills such as cow herding and how to castrate a bull. The actor lived in Montana for two months before filming started to get acquainted with life on a ranch. Cumberbatch then stayed in character for the entire duration of filming, which also meant not bathing for long periods of time.
Because Cumberbatch's character embodies toxic masculinity, staying in character also meant ignoring co-star Kirsten Dunst and being rude at times to Jesse Plemons. There was one moment when Cumberbatch's Method acting went a bit too far for Plemons' liking.
"There was one time he got under my skin," Plemons told Variety earlier this year. "He was like, 'Hey, big boy.' It wasn't 'fatso.' I feel like a few people in life have been like, 'Hey, big boy,' and I was like, 'Goddamn it. What the fuck.'"
Later, while the cast was enjoying dinner, Cumberbatch apologized when Plemons told him the remark "pissed me off." "He was like, 'I'm so sorry,'" Plemons says in an English accent, laughing. "I was like, 'No, don't worry. It was great.'"
"The Power of the Dog" is now streaming on Netflix. The drama is nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.