Benedict Cumberbatch 'couldn't let parents' leave New Zealand as pandemic struck

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Benedict Cumberbatch insisted upon his parents staying with him in New Zealand when the Covid-19 pandemic hit as it seemed too risky to send them home.

The Sherlock actor began filming Jane Campion's film The Power of the Dog in the southern region of Otago in January 2020 but production was shut down when the Covid-19 pandemic struck weeks later. Cumberbatch and his wife Sophie Hunter decided to stay in the country with their three children and his octogenarian parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham, because he felt it was safer to stay put due to "the ineptitude" of U.K. leaders.

"We weren't turning on our television every day or looking at our phones for news feeds. It was not a growing concern," he recalled to Esquire U.K. magazine. "Then when we got to Auckland it was, like, 'Oh. It's not just that it's not crazy here. It's actually crazy everywhere you need to get to, to get home.'

"(Coronavirus) was just coming and coming and coming and (British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson was still going, 'I'm hugging everyone, I'm kissing everyone, I'm licking door handles. Oh no, I'm not - now I'm in a hazmat suit'. You could see it was going to hit very hard in the U.K. because of the ineptitude. So, I just went 'You're staying here'. I couldn't let them go."

Production resumed on the film that June and Cumberbatch returned home to the U.K. as soon as filming wrapped.

The Power of the Dog is due to be released on Netflix on 1 December.

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