The Power of the Dog actor Benedict Cumberbatch addressed controversial criticisms of the western film made by Sam Elliott.
At a Glance:
- Sam Elliott blasts Power of the Dog.
- Benedict Cumberbatch calls out the actor for “toxic masculinity.”
Sam Elliott Roasts Power of the Dog, Fires Up Fans
The initial controversy started when Elliott expressed his displeasure for Oscar-contender in an interview. As a frequent star of westerns, the actor wasn’t thrilled with what the film had to offer. In particular, he thought that Power of the Dog featured too much emphasis on subtext
“I thought, ‘What the f—? What the f—?’ This is the guy that’s done westerns forever,” Elliott said. “[The cowboys] are all running around in chaps and no shirts. There’s all these allusions to homosexuality throughout the f—ing movie.”
Elliott then criticized director Jane Campion as a bad match for the western genre. He explained: “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 Criticizes Sam Elliott
As a result, Benedict Cumberbatch fired back.
“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,” the actor said. “Without meaning to stir over the ashes of that […] 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. And 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.”
He then addressed that the point of his character was that he was a deeply repressed gay man. Additionally, the Power of the Dog star said Elliott’s criticisms unfairly imply these people don’t exist.
“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. “
He added: “There’s no harm in looking at a character to get to the root causes of that. This is a very specific case of repression, but also due to an intolerance for that true identity that Phil is that he can’t fully be. 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.”