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Benedict Cumberbatch stuns fans with unusual Vanity Fair photoshoot

Benedict Cumberbatch (Ian West/PA)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Ian West/PA)

Benedict Cumberbatch has stunned fans after posing in an unusual photoshoot for Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood issue which sees him soaking wet and surrounded by swans.

The 45-year-old actor is among eight stars including Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart and Andrew Garfield who are being featured in the magazine’s awards season special.

Cumberbatch, who has recently been nominated for an Oscar for his performance as gritty rancher Phil Burbank in Jane Campion’s dark western The Power Of The Dog, also discussed the role with the magazine alongside the quirky shoot.

In his cover for Vanity Fair, he can be seen emerging from a bubble bath fully clothed and dripping wet as he is surrounded by four swans, some of which have their wings opened defensively.

After the images were published, they went viral as fans and members of the public were left confused as to what was happening in the scene and about the editorial decisions behind the photoshoot.

Within the accompanying article, Cumberbatch reflected upon his latest roles including questioning Netflix bosses on why The Power Of The Dog only had a two-week run in cinemas.

The movie first premiered at film festivals across the world and was later released to select cinemas on November 17 and to Netflix on December 1.

Cumberbatch plays gritty rancher Phil Burbank in The Power Of The Dog (Kirsty Griffin/Netflix/PA)

The actor told Vanity Fair: “If I’m in the belly of the beast, then surely I can start asking questions of it.”

He continued: “This is for Scott (Stuber) and Ted (Sarandos) and everyone who runs Netflix: could you not afford to have a longer theatrical release? Maybe not. I don’t know.”

The actor stated that he was “positioning this as a question publicly” in the magazine, adding: “I haven’t actually had this conversation with them, but I would and I will.”

Stuber is the head of original films at Netflix while Sarandos is the co-chief executive officer and chief content officer for the streaming giant.

The psychological thriller, which also stars Kodi Smit McPhee, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, has stormed the award nomination season.

It earned 12 Oscar nods including best picture, best director, best actor for Cumberbatch, best supporting actress for Dunst and best supporting actor for both Plemons and Smit McPhee.

Kristen Stewart in Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair has unveiled its 28th annual Hollywood issue which features covers with stars like Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristen Stewart and more (Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari/Vanity Fair/PA)

Based on a 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, the story takes place in Montana in 1925.

Cumberbatch’s character is a domineering bully who responds with mocking cruelty when his brother, played by Plemons, brings home a new wife Rose Gordon and her son Peter, played by Dunst and Smit McPhee, after meeting them at a cattle drive.

Netflix has been approached for comment.

The Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue is available via digital download and on newsstands on February 25.

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