The Knockturnal was on the red carpet for the New York Film Festival premiere of Netflix’s “The Power of The Dog” on Friday evening at Alice Tully Hall.
Director/Producer/Writer Jane Campion was joined by actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee; Cinematographer Ari Wegner and Producers Iain Canning, Roger Frappier and Tanya Seghatchian. Lesli Klainberg (FLC Executive Director), Eugene Hernandez (Director of NYFF) and Dennis Lim (FLC & NYFF Director of Programming) were also in attendance.
Adapted from a 1967 cult novel by Thomas Savage notoriously ahead of its time in depicting repressed sexuality, The Power of the Dog excavates the emotional torment experienced at a Montana cattle ranch in the 1920s. Here, melancholy young widow Rose (Kirsten Dunst) has come to live with her sensitive new husband, George (Jesse Plemons), though their lives are increasingly complicated by the erratic, potentially violent behavior of his sullen and bullying brother, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose mistrust of both Rose and her misfit son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads to tragic consequences.
Dunst, who gives a powerful awards worthy performance, spoke about her collaboration with Campion. “Ever since I was young and watched The Piano she’s been a filmmaker that I admired and wanted to be apart of one of her films. Her female performances are performances that have influenced me over my career and still do obviously, so to be apart of one of her films was always like ‘wow, couldn’t that be amazing if one day that could happen to me!”
Smit-McPhee, who looked sharp in Dior, spoke about his character’s journey in the film. “We find Peter as he’s living with his mother who is a widow and he’s quite strange and you can’t really put your finger in him I believe for a great deal of the movie — very much a loner, but happy in his seclusion, an intellectual, very curious about his whereabouts and his world and he wants to become a doctor and as his environment moves into that of Phil Burbank and his brother he’s somewhat intimidated by Phil and pushed under the thumb by him and all of his antics and Phil is quite the neurotic, narcissistic, cruel character and kind of uses my character as a pawn to get to my mother and it’s very interesting. Theres’ so many other layers to it like there’s this kind of ghostly character Bronco Henry, who had brought Phil up to look after the land and he tells me about him so much then he realized Phil could be taking up the space for Bronco Henry for me, so from something that starts very cruel and kind of torturous turns into something somewhat romantic and a great friendship seems to be brewing, but you never really know and I think it keeps you on the edge of your seat and in a sense of impending doom, so it was a very cool character to play that’s for sure.”
We also spoke with cinematographer Ari Wegner and producer Roger Frappier. Check out our exclusive interviews above! A fun western-themed party followed at Tavern on the Green.