Benedict Cumberbatch’s Oscar-nominated Western film, The Power of the Dog, has been subjected to brutal and unchecked criticism from veteran actor Sam Elliott. The incident which was shockingly intolerant and enabled the outright denial of expression and art has then been responded to with polite humiliation aimed at Elliott by the British actor.
Even as The Power of the Dog continues to garner praise and acclaim, Sam Elliott’s response marks a stain on the Netflix film that has currently been nominated for 12 Oscars.
Sam Elliott Rages Against Netflix’s The Power of the Dog
In an appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, actor Sam Elliott who is famous for his roles in films like The Big Lebowski (1998), The Hero (2017), and Hulk (2003) has spoken out against the star-studded Netflix film, The Power of the Dog.
“You want to talk about that piece of sh*t? There was a f**king full-page ad out in the LA Times and there was a review, not a review, but a clip, and it talked about the ‘evisceration of the American myth,’ and I thought, ‘What the f**k? What the f**k?’… They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts. There are all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f**king movie…”
The comments sadly did not end there as the Marvel actor went on a tirade against everything that’s wrong about the film, in his opinion. Not only were the elemental narrative blocks of the movie’s plot problematic to him and his sensibilities, but they were also aimed at subverting the legitimacy of Jane Campion as a director.
“What the f**k does this woman from down there [Australia] know about the American West? Why the f**k did she shoot this movie in New Zealand and call it Montana? And say this is the way it was? That f**king rubbed me the wrong way. Boy, when I f**king saw that I thought, ‘What the f**k? Where are we in this world today?’”
Elliott, recognizable for his lanky frame and handlebar mustache has worked in a considerable number of Westerns himself, notably, The Shadow Riders (1982), Gone to Texas (1986), The Quick and the Dead (1987), Conagher (1991), Tombstone (1993), and You Know My Name (1999).
Benedict Cumberbatch Responds to Sam Elliott’s Comments
While the Doctor Strange actor acknowledges that he did not listen to the podcast himself, Benedict Cumberbatch was still aware of the incident surrounding Sam Elliott’s outrageous opinions against his film. He spoke candidly and responded to Elliott’s comments during his BAFTA Film Sessions interview.
“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… [The movie] is not a history lesson… 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, there’s also a massive intolerance within the world at large towards homosexuality still and toward an acceptance of the other and any kind of difference.”
The misconception that American Westerns are about macho gun-slinging cowboys staring at each other from under the brim of their hats and dueling in a standoff immediately exploits the notion of there being no place for the LGBTQ+ demography in these films.
The reality of the American West of the 19th and 20th centuries, in fact, does not have enough representation in films and that is what Jane Campion sought to bring to the screen through her directorial lens focusing on the homosexually repressed and time-hardened cattle ranch owner, Phil Burbank, the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Power of the Dog is available for streaming on Netflix.
Source: BAFTA Film Sessions