Hi. I’m Jane Campion. I’m the writer and director of ‘The Power of the Dog.’ This is what I call the sex scene. It’s a scene that happens in a warehouse at night with Phil played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. It’s actually a scene that I love so much, because it’s the culmination of their relationship. And so many different parts of the movie that were actually seeded from the start come together, like the completion of the rope in all its conveyance, the change in Peter and Phil’s relationship by The direction of intimacy, and then surprising strength, shifts from Phil to Peter as Peter boldly brings the cigarette to Phil’s lips, then his, and prepares to move away from the murder scene. My aim in directing this scene was to find a way to really create tension as Peter watched Phil complete the rope. And this is what Phil actually asked him to do. Will you watch me finish the rope? It’s really the kind of hurt Phil shows to him. Here, we’re seeing the moment where the actual murder scene is hinted at, as Phil’s wounds turn red. And it’s also a scene where I added a lot, a lot of detail during filming and after. But this shot here is the one that got me really excited, like, just doing this focus move pulling between Peter, the rope, Phil’s hand playing in it in his crotch. And pull back Peter while he’s watching it. And then he goes to Bronco Henry’s saddle and starts fiddling with it, which is really a way for Peter to flirt with Phil in secret, because anyone touches Bronco’s saddle, especially especially Peter, maybe poring over Phil. And you know, it’s interesting that these saddles, they have so many— actually all spurs are little romantic aspects inside the little silver heart and the spurs themselves. You know? “How old were you when you met Bronco Henry?” “Around your age now.” Phil and Peter are really feeling each other here. Phil isn’t really sure, I don’t think, whether Peter is aware of the atmosphere, because Peter is really hard to read. And he begins a story about Bronco Henry and himself when they encounter a storm to illustrate how their friendship is actually not only the most important friendship in his life, but also the most important one in his life. friendship saved his life. And he talks about lying body-to-body in a rolled-up body. And you know, meanwhile, touching the rope and all the other erotic objects in this scene. And Peter asked – “Nude?” That was a really important moment for me and especially with how these amazing actors work with the lines and with what’s going on. Here, we only see the rope that Peter made threaded onto the main rope. And so it became a thread that the two of them made together. And originally, this scene had no dialogue in it. In fact, it’s not even in the books. But Benedict was really against the idea of dialogue. And actually, at first, I thought it shouldn’t have dialogue. I think it should just have great Jonny Greenwood music and that’s going to be a moment where it’s going to be really powerful. However, Benedict and I came to a kind of compromise, where we only used what was most innocent in the dialogue. You know, nothing really suggestive, but just something simple, like naive questions. And the context is posing a lot of complications. But most importantly, I think, is that it’s provocative and tense. And this moment, when they actually share a cigarette, Peter puts on this little smile, where we know he knows he has Phil. And we keep coming here with the horses, with the horns still playing. And these are live animals. I think they’re sexy in a way, because of how natural they are and seeing them in these details, their strength and beauty and the intimacy they have with each other, I think, also very important.
https://www.nytimes.com/video/movies/100000008168130/the-power-of-the-dog-scene.html ‘The power of the dog’ | Anatomy of a scene