Benedict Cumberbatch is set to star in an upcoming Netflix original film, The Power of the Dog in which he portrays the role of a gay man called Phil Burbank.

Speaking to Indiewireon the new film, Cumberbatch said the focus is all on “authenticity”.

Cumberbatch said, “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.”

Phil Burbank is described as a “sadistic cattle rancher” who pursues a relationship with Peter Gordon, portrayed by Kodi Smit-McPhee.

“I feel very sensitive about representation, diversity, and inclusion,” Cumberbatch added.

“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.”

Cumberbatch also spoke on his experience of being a straight man cast in the roles of gay characters, as it should be noted that he has been in a similar situation before. He played the role of a gay man, Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.

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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.”

Furthermore he added that the movie’s director, Jane Campion should probably be the one to answer these questions, “Jane chose us as actors to play those roles. That’s her question to answer.”

The  Power of the Dog just premiered at Venice International Film Festival and is due to release on Netflix soon.

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Watch ‘The Power of the Dog’ trailer starring Benedict Cumberbatch: