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Benedict Cumberbatch calls out toxic masculinity: 'We just have to shut up and listen'

Benedict Cumberbatch calls out toxic masculinity: 'We just have to shut up and listen'

'You get this sort of rebellion aspect [from men today], this denial, this sort of childish defensive position of 'not all men are bad.''

Taking a stand against toxic masculinity, Benedict Cumberbatch said in a recent interview that the behavior of men needs to be "fixed." The Oscar-nominated actor made the comments while talking to Sky News about his latest film, "Power of the Dog,"—an adaptation of a Thomas Savage novel—in which he takes on the role of Phil Burbank "a masochistic rancher who inwardly represses his desires while outwardly bullying those closest to him, including his brother's new wife." Discussing how the film depicts gender and power and how it pertains to real life, Cumberbatch said: "We need to fix the behavior of men. You have to kind of lift the lid on the engine a little bit."



 

"I think it's ever relevant, and in a world that's questioning and ripping into and finally pointing out the inadequacies of the status quo and the patriarchy, it's even more important. 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," the "Sherlock" star continued. "There is not enough recognition of abuse, 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."



 

Cumberbatch also addressed how difficult it has been for women to establish themselves in Hollywood. The topic came up while speaking of the film's Oscar-winning director Jane Campion—known for films including "The Piano," "The Portrait Of A Lady" and "Bright Star." "She's always been a heroine of mine," said Cumberbatch. "'The Piano' was a seismic film when I was growing up, for me, and I just completely fell under its spell. She's just a great director and the sensitivity and sensibility is needed in this to really crack Philip, you couldn't imagine a better director for that."



 

Campion won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, for "The Piano" nearly three decades ago. At the time, many predicted that the win would pave the way for other female filmmakers to follow in her wake. However, it is only now, in the post-MeToo era, that we are finally seeing more women being asked to direct major feature films. "It does feel like a painfully long road compared to where she began," Cumberbatch admitted. "But... she has inspired people all along the way."



 

"It is like mental health, you know, these things are still a stigma. There's still something that needs talking about, needs addressing, needs writing, help with, and until there is equal pay, a place at the table, equality across the board of every kind, we still have to have that conversation," he added. As The New York Times points out, Cumberbatch is no stranger to playing "wildly idiosyncratic characters." Speaking to the publication about why he's drawn to such roles, the 45-year-old said: "I fit a lot of very boring brackets in my personal description. I am drawn to the otherness of these people, to the difference from my lived experience. I want to understand it from the inside, not go, 'Oh, I know what that feels like.'"

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