Benedict Cumberbatch, Rancher Extraordinaire, Saved A Family Cornered By Cows

Is there anyone out there who doesn't love a nice feel-good story about actors using the skills they learned for their movie performances to do good in real life? You'd probably expect this sort of headline with Benedict Cumberbatch's name in it to have something to do with his superhero role as Doctor Strange, maybe performing CPR on someone in the same way that Stephen Strange (pre-horrific, hand-shattering car accident, at least) would've known how to do. Or, I don't know, casting some sort of spell? Look, I freely admit I'm not altogether up-to-date on the capabilities of the overall sorcerer community, so I'll leave that to those who know better than I do.

No, in this particular instance, Cumberbatch has revealed that he put all the rancher knowledge he gained during preparation for his role in Jane Campion's quietly powerful "The Power of the Dog" to good use and helped save a helpless family from, well, maybe not certain death, but certainly from a scary and potentially dangerous situation! 

The story, with a happy ending for all involved, comes straight from Benedict Cumberbatch himself. In an appearance on an upcoming episode of the BBC's "Graham Norton Show" (via Insider), the actor explained how the skills he developed for cattle ranching as the capable (but intensely unlikable) Phil Burbank came into practice at an unexpected moment while on vacation in the UK. Look, given just what kind of reprehensible character Phil is meant to be, let's all breathe a sigh of relief that Cumberbatch's notorious method acting had already come to an end by the time this situation arose and he could play the part of Good Samaritan with no trouble. In his own words:

"I came back from shooting the film in August and we were off 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!"

More like Benedict Cow-berbatch (sorry)

Actor, Oscar-nominee, and now real-life rancher. Benedict Cumberbatch can at least hold onto the fact that if he doesn't ultimately win gold for Best Actor after her performance in "The Power of the Dog," his work on the film at least helped him perform this one good deed. Later on in the episode, Cumberbatch explains to host Graham Norton that it was actually at writer/director Jane Campion's urging that he stay fully in-character during production of the film. In essence, that family has the filmmaker herself to thank for Cumberbatch ultimately getting them out of harm's way. As the actor put it:

"Jane encouraged me to stay in character. 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."

Although we have to feel for co-stars Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, and especially Kodi Smit-McPhee for having to deal with an absolutely rank Benedict Cumberbatch during those largely shower-less six-day work weeks in New Zealand, we'll take any positive and wholesome story where we can get it these days. 

On a (somewhat) related note, the "Graham Norton Show" is reestablishing itself as the go-to source for all kinds of actor tidbits. For example, you've been pronouncing Denzel Washington's name wrong all this time and we have the receipts to back that up, courtesy of the movie star's 2013 appearance on the very same show. The more you know, folks. The more you know.

"The Power of the Dog" is currently streaming on Netflix.