Sam Elliott stirred up some controversy after making a few unfavorable comments about Netflix’s The Power of the Dog. The Western drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, and Kirsten Dunst in lead roles.
Cumberbatch plays the closeted cowboy Phil Burbank who struggles with his brother, George (Plemons), falling in love with a widowed innkeeper Rose (Dunst). George eventually invites her and her son, Peter, to their family ranch. Upset about his brother’s decision, Phil torments Rose and strikes up an eerie fixation on Peter.
The movie has been dominating the awards season, taking home awards at the Golden Globes and the Hollywood Association Film Awards. It is currently nominated for 12 Academy Awards.
While it has won over the likes of many critics and viewers, Elliott would disagree. He went on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron to express his dissatisfaction.
What did Sam Elliott say?
The Ranch actor threw some major disses towards The Power of the Dog and its director, Jane Campion. Elliott called out the movie for its “allusions to homosexuality” and questioned Campion’s directorial choices, despite her recent Golden Globe win for Best Director.
He expressed, “I’ll tell you why I didn’t like it. I looked at when I was down there in Texas doing 1883, and what really brought it home to me the other day when I said, do you want to f**king talk about it? 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.” He continued to compare the cowboys in the movies to Chippendales dancers.
He added, “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.”
Elliott went on to discuss Campion. He said, “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?” He added that her decisions “rubbed him the wrong way.”
Critics strike back at Sam Elliott
Elliott’s hot-headed comments did not sit well with the internet. Many called him out for his homophobic remark, given that the movie’s LGBT themes were an integral part of the story. One Twitter user wrote, “They always say “never meet your heroes” but these days it’s more like “never see your heroes trending.” Twitter has summarily killed my love of so many actors. Oh well, into the rubbish bin with Sam Elliott.”
“sam elliott, completely unprompted: i am going to say things about this movie that are so homophobic,” wrote another.
Elliott has yet to offer clarification on his comments. Campion and Netflix haven’t responded.
The Power of the Dog is currently streaming on Netflix.