Sam Elliott found himself in hot water after he made seemingly homophobic comments regarding Netflix’s The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the closeted gay cowboy Phil Burbank.
As Monsters & Critics recently reported, the A Star Is Born actor criticized the movie’s director, Jane Campion, and dismissed its LGBT themes. Comparing the movie to Chippendale dancer, Elliott said, “That’s what all these f**king cowboys in that movie looked like. They’re all running around in chaps and no shirts, there’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f**king movie.”
He went on to comment directly on Campion’s work, adding, ““What the f**k does this woman, she’s a brilliant director, by the way, I love her work, previous work, but what the f**k does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American west?”
Cumberbatch has since responded to the controversial comments.
Cumberbatch responds to Elliott
The English actor snapped back at Elliott, calling his comments “odd”. According to Digital Spy, while speaking at the BAFTA Film Sessions, Cumberbatch said: “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.” Elliott made his comments on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast.
He added, “These people still exist in our world. 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.”
The actor continued to speak about intolerance and toxic masculinity while applying it to his character in the award-winning movie. He continued, “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.”
Cumberbatch on his character Phil Burbank
This is not the first time Cumberbatch recognized the nuance of his character’s behavior. In a previous interview, he said that he felt “deep empathy” for Phil.
Cumberbatch shared, “I have a deep, deep empathy for him, a real love for him, a real feeling of the tragedy of someone who has lived his entire life in a secretive way apart from one small shard of acceptance and tolerance with a man in his teenage years.”
He went on to express that he “felt for” his character’s loneliness and pain.
Cumberbatch is currently awaiting to results of the 2022 Academy Awards where The Power of the Dog nabbed him a Best Actor nominee.