The first images from critically acclaimed director Jane Campion's upcoming film The Power of the Dog are here, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch riding horses across gorgeous Western vistas and sporting a cowboy hat. (That's pretty much all it takes to sell me on this movie, but your mileage may vary.)
Based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, the story is set in 1920s Montana and follows the charismatic rancher Phil Burbank (Cumberbatch), an uber-masculine type who regularly inspires fear and awe in those around him. But things get complicated when his brother George (Jesse Plemmons) marries a widow (Kirsten Dunst) and brings her and her effeminate teenaged son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to live with them on the family farm.
Dismayed over their arrival, Phil begins a reckless campaign to torment the newcomers, until he is shown the possibility of love and what it can achieve.
Campion is something of a directing legend: The first woman to win the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or and just the second to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award. (Both honors were for the 1993 film The Piano, for which she took home an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.)
The Power of the Dog marks Campion's first film in 12 years (since 2009's wildly underrated gem Bright Star), and the movie will world premiere at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September. It has also been named the Centerpiece Selection for this year's New York Film Festival.
Cumberbatch has been keeping fairly busy these days with his duties as a Marvel superhero, playing the mystical Doctor Stephen Strange in forthcoming sequels Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But that hasn't stopped the perennially booked actor from taking on several other high-profile roles, including the recent spy drama The Courier, upcoming biopic The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, and a remake of classic thriller The 39 Steps.
The bulk of The Power of the Dog was shot over seven months in New Zealand -- a slow process thanks to multiple COVID-19 pandemic-related delays -- and according to Vanity Fair, Cumberbatch went method for most of the shoot. (Campion apparently introduced him on the set as Phil, in case you were wondering how serious this all was.)
The Power of the Dog will receive an extremely limited theatrical release beginning November 17, before arriving on Netflix on December 1.
Anyone else looking forward to The Power of the Dog? Let's discuss in the comments.