Power of the Dog Director Has Words for Sam Elliott

Calls the actor a 'b**ch' for his criticism of the film
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2022 6:30 PM CST
Updated Mar 14, 2022 5:34 AM CDT
Cumberbatch Responds to Sam Elliott Slams
Benedict Cumberbatch arrives at the 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Barker Hangar on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in Santa Monica, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Update: Jane Campion, director of The Power of the Dog, did not hold back in her thoughts on Sam Elliott after the actor, who is not affiliated with the movie, railed against the critically acclaimed film for its focus on homosexuality. "I’m sorry, he was being a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H. He’s not a cowboy; he’s an actor," she tells Variety. "The West is a mythic space and there’s a lot of room on the range. I think it’s a little bit sexist.” She added, of her own position as director, "I consider myself a creator. I think [Elliott] thinks of me as a woman or something lesser first, and I don’t appreciate that." Our original story from March 7 follows:

Two big-name actors are involved in some controversy over the Oscar-nominated film The Power of the Dog. Veteran actor Sam Elliott, who wasn't in the movie, says he hates it because it focuses so much on homosexuality. Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as a closeted gay cowboy, has since come to its defense. As NBC News reports, this began when Elliott appeared on Marc Maron's WTF podcast and called the movie a "piece of s---." He complained that Cumberbatch and other cowboys are "running around in chaps and no shirts. There's all these allusions of homosexuality throughout the movie." When Maron pointed out that the struggles of Cumberbatch's character are the point of the movie, Elliott brushed it off. "Where's the Western in this Western?" he asked.

Cumberbatch, asked about all this at a BAFTA film sessions event, said he was "trying very hard not to say anything about a very odd reaction that happened the other day on a radio podcast," per Insider. After pointing out that he hadn't heard Elliott's comment in full, he rebuffed his fellow actor's "denial that anybody could have anything other than a heteronormative existence because of what they do for a living or where they're born," per the Week. People like his character exist in all walks of life, said Cumberbatch. "I think if we're to teach our sons to be feminists, if we're to teach equality, if we're to understand what poisons the well in men, what creates toxic masculinity, we need to understand and look under the hood of characters like Phil Burbank." (More Benedict Cumberbatch stories.)

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