Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he gave himself nicotine poisoning three times while filming new movie The Power of the Dog.

Speaking to Esquire, Benedict Cumberbatch opened up about taking up chain-smoking to portray a cattle rancher in the western drama, which has received rave reviews from critics thus far.

“That was really hard… filterless rollies, just take after take after take,” he said.

“I gave myself nicotine poisoning three times. When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible.”

Along with becoming a nicotine smoker, Benedict Cumberbatch revealed that he also gave up bathing to properly portray the character.

“I wanted that layer of stink on me… I wanted people in the room to know what I smelt like,” he said.

“It was hard, though. It wasn’t just in rehearsals. I was going out to eat and meet friends of Jane [Campion, director] and stuff. I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living.”

Meanwhile, Cumberbatch told IndieWire back in September that his method acting techniques were inspired by the need to bring “authenticity” to the role.

“It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020. You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places,” he said.

Cumberbatch also touched on being cast to portray a gay man, saying that he feels “very sensitive about representation, diversity, and inclusion.”

“One of the appeals of the job was the idea that in this world, with this specific character, there was a lot that was private, hidden from view,” he said.

On being chosen for the role, he said, “It wasn’t done without thought. I also feel slightly like, is this a thing where our dance card has to be public? Do we have to explain all our private moments in our sexual history? I don’t think so.”

For more on this topic, follow the Film & TV Observer.

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