The Oscar-nominated film “The Power of the Dog” was written and directed by Jane Campion. The film has received critical acclaim and a dozen Academy Award nominations.
However, the movie failed to impress Elliot, who called the movie a “piece of s—.”
Sam Elliot Calls ‘The Power Of The Dog’ A ‘Piece Of S—’
The renowned Western actor criticized the film on a recent episode of the WTF With Marc Maron podcast. When host Marc Maron asked if he saw the film, Elliot seemed unable to find even one positive thing to say about it.
Elliott replied, “You wanna talk about that piece of s—?” He then mentioned a Los Angeles Times article that “talked about ‘the evisceration of the American myth.’”
“I thought, What the f—? What the f—? This is the guy that’s done Westerns forever,” he said. “The evisceration of the American West, they look like, all those dancers, those guys in New York that wear bow ties and not much else? Remember them back in the day?”
Maron explained that those dancers are called Chippendales dancers. Elliott then said that he thought all of the cowboys in the movie looked like Chippendales dancers, adding, “They’re all runnin’ around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f—ing movie.”
Maron replied, “Yeah, I think that’s what the movie’s about,” before mentioning that Cumberbatch’s character of Phil Burbank was meant to portray a closeted homosexual man. At that point, Elliot turned his anger on the film’s director.
Sam Elliot Asks What Jane Campion Knows About The American Midwest
“Jane Campion’s a brilliant director, by the way,” Elliot said to start off his criticism. “I love her work, previous work. But what the f— does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American West? And why in the f— does she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana and say, ‘This is the way it was?’ So that f—ing rubbed me the wrong way, pal.”
He also criticized the character’s costumes, saying, “I mean, Cumberbatch never got out of his f—ing chaps. He had two pairs of chaps—a wooly pair and a leather pair.”
“And every f—ing time he would walk in from somewhere… he never was on a horse, maybe once—he’d walk into the f—ing house, storm up the f—ing stairs, go lay in his bed in his chaps and play his banjo. It’s like, what the f—?” he went on.
He added, “Where’s the Western in this Western?… I took it f—ing personal, pal.”
Jane Campion Addresses Sam Elliot’s Criticism On DGA Red Carpet
While picking up her win for Theatrical Feature Film at the DGA Awards on Saturday night, Campion addressed his comments on the red carpet.
“I think it’s really unfortunate and sad for him because he’s really hit the trifecta of misogyny and xenophobia and homophobia,” she said. “I don’t like that. I think he was being a little bit of a b—-. Plus he’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor.”
She jokingly added that the only way to settle their dispute was with a true Western style shootout, with star Benedict Cumberbatch to represent her.
“When [Elliott] gets out of hair and makeup, I’ll meet him down at the OK Corral on the set with Doctor Strange, and we will shoot it out,” she joked before adding, “Look, the West is a mythic space and there’s plenty of room on the range.”
Benedict Cumberbatch Comments On Sam Elliot’s ‘Very Odd Reaction’
In a recent interview, Cumberbatch also addressed the “very odd reaction” that Elliot had to his movie.
“I’m trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast over here,” Cumberbatch said. “Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that […] someone really took offense to – I haven’t heard it so it’s unfair for me to comment in detail on it […] to the West being portrayed in this way. And beyond that reaction, that sort of denial that anybody could have anything other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they’re born.”
He also clarified that the point of the film was to portray a closeted gay man. He also explained that Elliot’s criticisms may unfairly imply that those people just don’t exist in the world.
“These people still exist in our world,” Cumberbatch said. “Whether it’s on our doorstep or whether it’s down the road or whether it’s someone we meet in a bar or pub or on the sports field, there is aggression and anger and frustration and an inability to control or know who you are in that moment that causes damage to that person and, as we know, damage to those around them.”
“There’s no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that,” he added. “This is a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for that true identity that Phil is that he can’t fully be. The more we look under the hood of toxic masculinity and try to discover the root causes of it, the bigger chances we have of dealing with it when it arises with our children.”