Jane Campion

Hollywood megastars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst are poised to brighten up the South Island over the summer holidays.

NZ Herald‘s Spy reported Kiwi directing legend Jane Campion, whose got close ties go Glenorchy, is using her homeland as the backdrop for new Netflix Western drama The Power of the Dog.

Queenstown and its surrounds will stand in for Montana in January, while Auckland will also host parts of the production for set work in February.

Campion deserves an award from Tourism New Zealand for her Academy Award-winning film The Piano, which put Auckland’s West Coast on the map in the early ’90s. She did the same this decade for Queenstown and Glenorchy with her award-winning TV series Top of the Lake.

At the time, Campion described filming in the South Island’s untamed beauty to the Radio Times: “It really is a frontier and it’s gorgeous, it’s sort of the end of the world, there’s nowhere after that except mountains and wilderness and tracks… it’s a very healing and awesome environment.”

Top of the Lake star Elisabeth Moss was originally cast in The Power of the Dog, but left the project due to scheduling conflicts, presumably with The Handmaid’s Tale.

Benedict Cumberbatch. Picture: Gage Skidmore

Last week Spider-man star Dunst was announced to replace her in the role of Rose. English acting great Cumberbatch – who has a massive fan base nicknamed “Cumberbitches” and is best known for his roles as Sherlock Holmes and as Marvel’s Dr Strange – plays Phil Burbank, and his brother George is played by Paul Dano, who has just been cast as the Riddler in a new Batman movie.

The Power of the Dog has been adapted by Campion from the 1967 novel, set in the 1920s, about two wealthy brothers who fall out. Their lives are permanently altered when one falls in love with a widow and brings the woman and her son to live on their isolated ranch.

It traces the tense relationship between two brothers. Cumberbatch’s character is a bullying repressed homosexual who terrorises his new sister-in-law.

Campion’s latest masterpiece in the making is due out on Netflix in 2021.

The star-spotters will be out in force early next year, trying to catch a glimpse of the talented foursome.

  • NZ Herald