Benedict Cumberbatch Discusses 'Fix' for Toxic Masculinity: 'We Just Have to Shut Up and Listen'

·2 min read
Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch

P. Lehman/Barcroft Media via Getty Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch thinks it's time for men to listen.

The Power of the Dog actor, 45, told Sky News about his perspective on toxic masculinity and explained, "We need to fix the behavior of men."

"You get this sort of rebellion aspect [from men today], this denial, this sort of childish defensive position of 'Not all men are bad.' But no, we just have to shut up and listen," said Cumberbatch while discussing the themes in the film.

"There is not enough recognition of abuse," he continued. "There's not enough recognition of disadvantages and, at the same time, somewhere along the line — maybe not now, but somewhere along the line — we need to do maybe what the film does as well, which is examine the reason behind the oppressive behavior."

In Power of the Dog, a Netflix Western movie set in 1967, Cumberbatch stars as a cattle rancher who unexpectedly falls for the young son of a widow, played by Kirsten Dunst, who recently moved to his ranch. The character grapples with his sexuality in an era and place that emphasizes binary gender roles and expectations.

"He had this burning love affair in his youth, which wasn't tolerated, which wasn't allowed, couldn't be spoken of and the tragedy of that is what twists him into this sort of form of masculine toxicity," the British star told reporters of his character at the New York Film Festival premiere in October.

RELATED: Benedict Cumberbatch on 'Interesting' Power of the Dog Nude Scenes: 'Literally Exposing Myself'

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Cumberbatch said the character's toxic masculinity made him project "hate on the world, and for the world, hate on him, and I think his sense of loneliness is exacerbated by that and his sense of jealousy."

Of the time period, the star said, "I think it speaks to a time of intolerance and a lack of acceptance where people couldn't live any kind of their authentic self."

Cumberbatch, who is straight, has faced scrutiny in this role. The actor previously played real-life mathematician Alan Turing, a gay man, in 2014's The Imitation Game.

"I feel very sensitive about representation, diversity and inclusion," he said at the Telluride Film Festival regarding Power of the Dog, according to IndieWire. "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. ... It wasn't done without thought."

The Power of the Dog hits Netflix Dec. 1.

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