When creating Yellowstone and its many spinoffs (1883, 1932, 6666), Taylor Sheridan and his cast have one main objective: authenticity. Along with everyone on the crew, Sheridan goes out of his way to ensure that every detail of the old West is depicted accurately and with stunning beauty.
This level of commitment to a factual depiction of a time period isn’t held across the board, however. And though The Power of the Dog is a massive hit with viewers, it doesn’t come close to the realism of the Yellowstone universe. This is a fact that did not sit well with 1883 star, Sam Elliott.
The Power of the Dog follows a domineering rancher named Phil Burbank as he navigates internal battles and the demands and struggles that come with owning a ranch in the early 1900s. The movie holds an Oscar nomination as well as fans’ praise, but Sam Elliott couldn’t disagree more with the masses.
In a recent appearance on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, Elliott absolutely shredded the Western psychological drama. “I thought, ‘What the f—? What the f—?’ This is the guy that’s done westerns forever,” Elliott says.
Elliott also compared the cowboys in The Power of the Dog to Chippendales dancers. He added “[The cowboys] are all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f—ing movie.”
Elliott assures the podcast host that it’s not the director, Jane Campion, he has a problem with. On the contrary, he loves many of her previous works. However, he doesn’t believe that Campion, a New Zealand native, was the one to tell a story about the Wild West of America.
“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 is.’ That f—ing rubbed me the wrong way, pal.”
Benedict Cumberbatch Shows Sam Elliott-Level Commitment for ‘Power of the Dog’
Benedict Cumberbatch might not be a native of the West, or America, for that matter, but he didn’t let that stop him from portraying a rancher in the old West. And while 1883 star, Sam Elliott, is certainly entitled to his opinion, we’re fairly certain Cumberbatch would disagree.
Determined to get the role just right, the Doctor Strange star took some pretty drastic measures. Not only did the actor somehow manage to teach himself to play the banjo in a single month, but he also learned how to herd cattle.
On top of that, he refused to smoke fake cigarettes, because that’s not what the real Phil Burbank would do. Instead, he chain-smoked filterless rollies for months, giving himself nicotine poisoning not once but three times.
Still unconvinced of Cumberbatch’s commitment to embodying the Phil Burbank character? Okay. Well, you would imagine a rancher in 1925 to smell pretty unpleasant, right? Benedict Cumberbatch did as well. So, to ensure that he had the proper stench, Cumberbatch gave up showering until the film was complete.
“I wanted that layer of stink on me,” Cumberbatch said. “I wanted people in the room to know what I smelt like. It was hard, though… It wasn’t just in rehearsals. I was going out to eat and meet friends and stuff. I was a bit embarrassed by the cleaner, in the place I was living.”