HomeEntertainment‘The Power of the Dog’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Opens Up About Recreating 1920s Montana in New Zealand

‘The Power of the Dog’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Opens Up About Recreating 1920s Montana in New Zealand

by Leanne Stahulak
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Academy Award-winning Jane Campion’s newest film, “The Power of the Dog,” explores Montana ranching in the 1920s. However, the film didn’t shoot on location in Montana.

Instead, star Benedict Cumberbatch revealed that they in fact shot in New Zealand. Cumberbatch sat down with Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week, and the late-night talk show host was surprised that they didn’t shoot a Western in the western United States.

“We shot it in New Zealand, yeah, set in 1925 Montana,” Cumberbatch said. “Of which there is very little left in Montana that’s 1925. I mean, this place in New Zealand was like 360 degrees of wilderness and untouched, dehumanized land. And it’s one of the characters in the film, and it’s extraordinary.”

We see bits and pieces of that land in the trailer for “The Power of the Dog.” Netflix just dropped a new trailer last week, promoting its theatrical and streaming release. The film will run for a limited time in theaters starting Nov. 17, and Netflix subscribers can watch it on the platform starting Dec. 1.

Check out the trailer for yourself below. You’ll see Cumberbatch, who stars as a Montana rancher named Phil Burbank. The film also stars Kirsten Dunst as Rose Gordon, Phil’s new sister-in-law. She moves in with the Burbanks along with her son, Peter. Phil makes it his mission to make their life a living hell, calling them “interlopers.”

The trailer certainly gives an ominous and chilling feeling, between Cumberbatch’s character constantly whistling to the cruel barbs he throws at Peter and Rose. We’ll see how long the duo lasts on Phil’s Montana ranch before someone or something breaks.

‘The Power of the Dog’ Star Benedict Cumberbatch Learned Cowboying in Montana

Although Jane Campion and crew filmed “The Power of the Dog” in New Zealand, Benedict Cumberbatch actually headed to Montana for three weeks to learn the ropes on ranching.

He told Kimmel how he went to “Dude Camp” to learn the basics of being a cowboy. “I kinda went there to learn the life of a rancher, because my fellow does a lot of stuff. He’s adept with knife castration, he does braiding and roping, he does whittling and whistling. Rolling cigarettes with one hand, all the hard stuff. I learned a lot of things,” Cumberbatch said.

“The Power of the Dog” star even learned about turning animal hides into rodeo ropes, a skill that required lessons from an expert.

“I was there for about three weeks, and I met some folks from two incredible ranches,” Cumberbatch said. “And I hung out with Randy, who with his wife Jen, put me up in their house. And we just drove around that state and met some extraordinary people whose livelihoods I was trying to authenticate in my character.”

We’ll see how authentic Cumberbatch’s character feels when “The Power of the Dog” hits theaters and Netflix later this month.