Benedict Cumberbatch Gave Himself Nicotine Poisoning Three Times Working On The Power Of The Dog

Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor known for playing Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Strange, and Julian Assange, said he got nicotine poisoning three times working on the set of his upcoming film The Power of the Dog, which follows the life of an American rancher named Phil Burbank.

Cumberbatch, known for taking a method approach to his acting, spoke to Esquire Magazine about the steps he took to portray Burbank as accurately as possible, learning skills like rolling cigarettes with one hand, playing the banjo, carpentry, and making horseshoes in order to stay true to the book on which the film is based. Cumberbatch said he repeatedly got nicotine poisoning over the course of repeated takes and many hand-rolled cigarettes.

“That was really hard,” he says. “Filterless rollies, just take after take after take. I gave myself nicotine poisoning three times. When you have to smoke a lot, it genuinely is horrible.”

Cumberbatch has managed to keep remarkably busy over the course of the pandemic, appearing in releases including Marvel’s What if..?, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, among others.

While The Power of the Dog debuted at the Venice International Film Festival in September, the film is currently scheduled for a limited release on Nov. 17 and will begin streaming on Netflix beginning Dec. 1, when audiences around the world can decide for themselves whether Cumberbatch’s method approach to the role was worth the trouble. In addition to Cumberbatch, the film will star Kirsten Dunst and her real-life fiance, Jesse Plemons.