Sherlock Actor Poisoned With Nicotine

Sherlock Actor Poisoned With Nicotine

( – Many Hollywood stars believe in fully immersing themselves in their roles. Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for his role as Sherlock Holmes, is one of those actors. Recently he took it a little too far.

During an interview with Esquire, Cumberbatch discussed his new movie, The Power of the Dog,  an adaptation of a 1967 novel by the same name written by Thomas Savage. He plays Phil Burbank, a ranch owner who torments the wife of his brother, George. Cumberbatch used a technique called “method acting” when playing Phil; that’s when actors become the persons they are playing, mimicking their every move. According to the actor, he wouldn’t even answer to his real name.

In the film, Phil is also a chain-smoker. So, Cumberbatch decided he would also start chain-smoking. The actor said his decision led to him falling ill with nicotine poisoning three times throughout the shoot.

Method acting isn’t something actors should do on their own because, without proper supervision, it can be very dangerous. Perhaps the most infamous case of method acting in recent years was the late actor Heath Ledger immersing himself into his character, the Joker, for The Dark Knight. The actor later died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008, and there were rumors he was medicating because of the toll the Joker role took on his mental health. His family has denied method acting was the reason for the overdose, but questions still linger.

Cumberbatch’s nicotine poisoning brings the technique back into the spotlight and leaves people wondering: Should actors employ method acting for roles? And should there be more supervision on-set and off when an actor is using the technique?

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