Kodi Smit-McPhee on his co-stars, respecting where he started and his favorite scene in ‘The Power of the Dog’ [VIDEO INTERVIEW]
Don’t call it a breakthrough, Kodi Smit-McPhee’s been here for years.
Kodi Smit-McPhee may have just earned his first Oscar nomination at the young age of 25 but the 6’2″ Australian native has been a working actor for over half of life. While some were introduced to him in 2009’s The Road opposite Viggo Mortensen, most likely found their way to him the next year with the vampire remake of Let the Right One In (Let Me In) and then in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, starring as Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler. Maybe it’s the under the radar or chameleon-like roles, but Smit-McPhee has been building a repertoire of characters that rival anyone in his generation.
In Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which was just nominated for 12 Academy Awards, the actor finds his greatest and most difficult role, that of the shy and introverted Peter. Set on a Montana ranch in 1925, Peter’s mother Rose (played by Oscar nominee Kirsten Dunst) marries local rancher George Burbank (Oscar nominee Jesse Plemons), much to the chagrin and anger of his brother Phil (Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch), who’s harboring a secret. What ensues is a slow burn cat and mouse game of shifting power dynamics, dramatic revelations and a stunner of an ending.
Throughout my conversation with the soft-spoken but very articulate young actor, we talk about the inner workings of finding out who Peter is, and working closely with Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst under the guidance of Jane Campion. We talk about how his upbringing has kept his path from child actor to adult actor a safe one, how fashion is a big part of his life (“My mother said never be afraid of color,” he says), what the awards race has meant to him and how the rules of masculinity are ever-changing and evolving.
Keep an eye for the moment I show him the mashup of his catwalk in The Power of the Dog with RuPaul’s “Covergirl,” you won’t want to miss it. Regrettably, the volume is quite low but, as an added bonus, I’ve included the full mashup video (which was created by my good friend John Loos) at the end of the interview.
The Power of the Dog is currently available to stream on Netflix.