Hollywood has come to Alexandra

Kirsten Dunst. Photo: Reuters
Kirsten Dunst. Photo: Reuters

Benedict Cumberbatch. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Benedict Cumberbatch. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Hollywood has come to Alexandra.

Film stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst are both in the Central Otago town.

The pair are starring in New Zealand director Jane Campion’s new Netflix Western drama, The Power of the Dog.

The Otago Daily Times yesterday visited the house Cumberbatch is staying at with his wife, avant-garde theatre and opera director, playwright and former performer Sophie Hunter, and the couple’s two children.

The door was answered by a woman believed to be the couple’s nanny, who said she could not say who was staying in the palatial Alexandra home. However, she did not deny Cumberbatch and his family were in residence.

A neighbour across the street confirmed Cumberbatch was staying at the house.

"Yeah, I’ve seen him. He gets picked up and dropped off," he said.

"He is there with his wife and family, his nanny and his entourage."

At a neighbouring cafe, a worker confirmed Dunst had dined there on Saturday evening.

He would not be drawn on further details.

"She was nice. They are here for five weeks. She is doing her job and I am doing mine."

Campion has also been seen in the Central Otago area.

A woman said she had seen a woman fitting Campion’s description at the Muddy Creek Cafe in Omakau last week.

The film is based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage about two wealthy brothers who co-own the biggest ranch in Montana and set in the Roaring ’20s.

According to IMDb, Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Doctor Strange) plays the brilliant and cruel Phil Burbank. Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) is his gentle sibling, George.

When George marries a widow, Rose, played by Plemons’ real-life wife Dunst (Melancholia, Spider-Man, The Beguiled), his brother sets out to destroy her. The film traverses the tense relationship between the two brothers, Cumberbatch’s character being a bully and a repressed homosexual who terrorises Dunst’s character.

Campion has helped put New Zealand on the map with her work, which includes multi-Academy Award-winning film The Piano and the award-winning TV series Top of the Lake.


You knocked... on their door where they were privately staying? That’s pretty invasive behaviour. At least the cafe owner showed some ethical behaviour.