Apparently, things are popping off in the Western community, starting with Sam Elliott basically writing a diss track about “Power of the Dog.” The recent Netflix Western starring Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated for an Oscar, but that didn’t stop Elliott from absolutely tearing into it on the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.”
“I thought, ‘What the f—? What the f—?’ This is the guy that’s done westerns forever,” Elliott said. He seemed to have an issue with a director from New Zealand making the movie, as he said of director Jane Campion, “What the f— does this woman from down there, New Zealand, know about the American west?” he continued. “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.”
March 1, 2022
Working with Taylor Sheridan on “1883” spoiled Elliott for authenticity. The show filmed on location in Texas and Montana, and Sheridan does his best to write authentic stories. So, it’s understandable how a Western legend like Sam Elliott could harshly judge an American Western filmed in New Zealand.
Additionally, he claimed on the podcast, “Where’s the Western in this Western?” He apparently wasn’t a fan of Cumberbatch’s character, saying, “Every time he’d walk in from somewhere, he never was on a horse, maybe once, he’d walk into the f—ing house, storm up the f—ing stairs, go lay on his bed in his chaps and play his banjo. It was like, what the f—?”
But, Netflix is taking a stab back at Elliott, allegedly, with a screengrab from “Power of the Dog” posted on Twitter. The screengrab features a scene of Kirsten Dunst looking disgusted and distraught, with the subtitle “He’s just a man. Only another man.”
Is This Tweet a Subtle Dig at Sam Elliott?
Could this just be Netflix having a bit of fun at Sam Elliott’s expense? Most likely; they seem to have a pretty sharp marketing team, and this is an example of that. Sam Elliott is entitled to his opinion, of course. But Netflix is entitled to defend themselves, too, as Elliott went pretty harsh with the criticisms.
Not every movie is for everyone, and “Power of the Dog” definitely wasn’t for the veteran Western actor. But, he does have a public platform, and it’s much harder to voice your controversial opinions when you have a presence like that. Sam Elliott is a big name, with a lot of respect attached to it. Did he step over the line a bit with his comments? Possibly. People are entitled to their opinions about his opinions, after all.
Maybe this is a case of “old man yells at cloud,” maybe Elliott’s criticisms are valid. Either way, Netflix threw some shade, and we’ll have to wait and see if Sam Elliott responds, or leaves it be.