‘The Power of the Dog’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Learned to Castrate Bulls for the Role

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Taking role preparing to a whole new level. British actor Benedict Cumberbatch recently revealed that he learned how to castrate bulls in preparing for his role in The Power of the Dog. 

According to DailyMail, Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Phil Burbank in Power of the Dog, stated that he spent two weeks learning the “tricks of the trade” on a race with Montana cowboy, Randy Rieman. During a recent interview with The Times, Rieman stated, “[Cumberbatch] was a really good sport. He was clearly quite intimidated. Because it was so far removed from his normal environment. But he was brave and he was game. He was just as bloody and dirty as the rest of us by the end.”

While discussing his preparation for The Power of the Dog, Benedict Cumberbatch stated that the film’s direct Jane Campion encouraged him to stay in character while filming. “She was very secure about all the things I was insecure about. And said, ‘Do whatever you have to do to feel ownership of this very different lived experience. So I went off to Montana for two months to find out what it is like to live on a ranch. And to experience all those things you see in the film. It was incredible and so far from anything I have ever done.”

After the experience, Benedict Cumberbatch came back from shooting the film and went to the beach. “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. 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.”

Benedict Cumberbatch Shares His Thoughts About Receiving Best Actor Oscar nomination for ‘The Power of the Dog’ 

As he continued to chat about his experience before, during, and after the production of The Power of the Dog, Benedict Cumberbatch spoke about receiving an Oscar’s Best Actor nomination for that role. “Whatever happens on the night, the whole raft of those nominations are so richly deserved. And obviously, I am thrilled that the four of us as a cast are nominated. We are going to be awesome on that dance floor. It’s going to be great no matter what happens.”

The Power of the Dog secured a total of 12 Oscar nominations. According to IMDb, the film follows charismatic rancher, Phil Burbank, who inspires fear and awe in those around him. After his brother brings home a new wife (played by Kirstin Dunst) and her son, Burbank decides to torment them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love. The film is based on the novel by Thomas Savage.